Photo: Bryan Meeks
The Mayhem coughed up a two-goal advantage to the Fayetteville Marksmen in the first period, ultimately falling by a 5-2 final on Marvel Super Hero Night.
The Mayhem fed off the building’s energy early, jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first period. Stephen Pierog unleashed a slap shot from the right circle 8:17 into the game, beating Trevor Gorsuch inside the left post. Josh Koepplinger added an insurance marker just over six minutes later, scoring a wraparound goal on a Mayhem power play.
Macon went to a second man-advantage shortly after Koepplinger’s goal, but it was the Marksmen who benefited. After a costly pinch in the Fayetteville zone, the puck squeaked out into the neutral zone and was collected by Taylor McCloy. He snapped the puck through Hayden Stewart, bringing the visitors within a goal. He added a second goal just 1:03 later, finishing off a 2-on-0 breakaway pass from Shane Bednard.
The second period began with both teams tied 2-2. Ample opportunities presented themselves for both teams to take the lead. Stewart made several crucial saves to keep the score tied. Stathis Soumelidis was denied by the crossbar and by a sprawling pad save by Gorsuch in the middle stanza. With less than two minutes remaining in the second, Brian Bowen received a pass in the neutral zone behind the Macon defense. He took the puck down the slot and backhanded a shot past Stewart, giving the Marksmen their first lead of the game.
Fayetteville seized control of the game during the closing period. Bowen scored his second goal from a difficult angle at the bottom of the left circle, and John Gustafsson buried his third goal of the weekend to ice the game.
Stewart was charged with his fourth defeat of the season after stopping 27 of Fayetteville’s 32 shots on goal. Gorsuch earned his second consecutive victory, denying 18 of 20 Macon shots. The Mayhem will travel to Crown Coliseum to face the Marksmen next Friday, January 17th to kick off a five-game home stand.