Photo: Bryan Meeks
The Mayhem let a late lead slip away as they fell by a 4-3 final to the Fayetteville Marksmen on Thursday morning.
Taylor McCloy finished off an odd-man rush just 2:37 into the game, giving the Marksmen a 1-0 lead very early in the contest. The hosts had the majority of offensive zone time and scoring chances, limiting Macon to a mere three shots on goal for the entire first period. However, on their third, the Mayhem capitalized.
Dylan Denomme sprung Josh Cousineau over the Fayetteville blue line with a sharp neutral zone pass. Cousineau held the puck on his backhand and shoveled it past Blake Wojtala to tie the game with just 58 seconds remaining in the opening stanza. Despite being outshot 8-3 in the opening 20 minutes, the Mayhem were on an even playing field with a 1-1 score at the first intermission.
Early in the second, Bobby Sokol was called for hooking in his Mayhem debut, putting the visitors on the penalty kill. Brian Bowen, the SPHL’s leading goal-scorer, found the net on the ensuing Fayetteville power play, giving the Marksmen a 2-1 lead.
The Mayhem roared back in the second period, scoring two unanswered to take their first lead of the day. Caleb Cameron extended his point streak to seven games, scoring his seventh goal of the season from the slot to tie the score midway through period two. Wojtala was pulled in favor of Brody Claeys due to injury a minute later, and the Mayhem were able to solve him before long. With just a minute remaining in the period, David Powlowski buried a wraparound goal to give Macon a 3-2 lead.
In the third, Shane Bednard found himself on a one-on-one against Hayden Stewart following an offensive zone faceoff. With plenty of time to work with, Bednard put the puck by the Macon net-minder to tie the score. Just over five minutes later, McCloy tallied his second goal of the game on a breakaway to regain Fayetteville’s advantage. The Marksmen managed to hang on to their 4-3 lead, and remained undefeated against the Mayhem this season.
Stewart stopped 29 of the 33 shots he faced, while Claeys earned the win by denying 16 of 17 in relief of Wojtala (9 of 11). The Mayhem will hold back-to-back home games at the Macon Centreplex this weekend. Friday is Macon Mistakes Night against Fayetteville, and Saturday is Pucks N’ Paws Night against the Birmingham Bulls. For tickets, click here.