Photo: Bryan Meeks
Hayden Stewart earned his first professional shutout on Tuesday night, stopping all 34 shots he faced and leading the Mayhem to a 2-0 triumph over the Pensacola Ice Flyers.
The Mayhem kicked the game off with a red-hot start, generating the first six shots on goal and forcing multiple saves from Chase Perry. The momentum took a Pensacola turn after back-to-back Macon penalties put them on a 5-on-3 power play for 95 seconds. However, Hayden Stewart and the Mayhem penalty killers fought off the lengthy disadvantage.
With just 38 seconds remaining in the opening period, Danny Cesarz, playing in his first game in nearly two months, worked the puck in behind the Pensacola net. He drew two defenders and fed a no-look pass to an open Stephen Pierog, who tapped the puck past Perry before the visiting goaltender could react. The goal put the Mayhem ahead 1-0, with a 13-9 edge in shots on goal at the end of the first period.
Pensacola controlled the bulk of period two, putting the Mayhem on their heels at times and challenging Hayden Stewart with aplomb. The Macon net-minder made two outstanding saves, denying Blake Young with his glove on a wrist shot from the slot, and stopping a 2-on-1 in which Brett D’Andrea fired a one-timer on net from the right circle.
Shortly after Stewart’s save on D’Andrea, Dylan Denomme drove the puck down his off-wing and into the Pensacola zone. With his team having just fought off an onslaught of chances at the other end, Denomme set up Zach Urban with room at the left point. The Mayhem defenseman hammered a slap pass to Pierog, who directed it into the net. Pierog’s second goal of the game gave the Mayhem a 2-0 lead.
Despite being outshot 12-4 in the final period, Stewart and the Mayhem shut the door and held the Ice Flyers off the scoreboard. It would be Macon’s third shutout of the season, and Stewart’s 10th victory on the campaign. Perry was given the loss, stopping 23 of 25 Macon shots. The Mayhem will have their next home game, Fan Appreciation Night, on Tuesday, March 10th, 2020. For tickets, click here.