Photo: Bryan Meeks
After getting out to a terrific start on Saturday night, the Mayhem faltered in the late stages of the game, allowing five unanswered goals and falling 5-2.
Colton Wolter, playing in just his second game with the Mayhem, was sprung on a clear-cut breakaway with a chance to open the scoring, but he just missed the right post with his shot. Shortly before the halfway point of the period, Josh Cousineau trickled the puck through the goal mouth to an unmarked Josh Koepplinger beside the Peoria cage. The Macon sharpshooter found his fourth goal of the season, giving the Mayhem a 1-0 edge.
Both teams exchanged power plays as the period wore on. The penalty killing units remained strong, maintaining the score until the opening stanza came to an end. It was the second consecutive night in which the Mayhem took a 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
Wolter redeemed himself very early into the second period, scoring quickly off an offensive zone faceoff win and giving Macon its first insurance lead of the weekend. Shortly afterward, he found himself in a fight with Peoria’s Skyler Smutek, who leads the team in penalty minutes. The two of them went to their respective penalty boxes for five minutes.
With just over a dozen seconds remaining in the second period, the Mayhem conceded possession following a defensive zone faceoff win. Peoria Captain Alec Hagaman was parked in front of Kevin Entmaa, and received the puck in front of the Macon crease. He backhanded it past Entmaa, who had been perfect up until that point.
Macon boasted a 2-1 lead to start the closing period. As a Mayhem power play came to an end, Mitchell McPherson received a stretch pass along the left boards and accelerated into Macon ice. He had a step on the defense, and backhanded the puck by Entmaa to tie the game 2-2. Less than six minutes later, Jordan Ernst raced the puck down the right wing and shoveled a backhand shot past Entmaa to give the Rivermen their first lead of the game. Robin Hoglund added an insurance marker to put the game away, followed by an empty-net strike by Nick Neville.
The Mayhem will return to the Macon Centreplex next weekend for a three-game stint next Thursday, Friday and Saturday. For tickets, click here.