MACON, GA – 33 days after their last bout on home ice, the Macon Mayhem finally returned to friendly confines at the Macon Coliseum. The extended time away from home didn’t dampen the Mayhem spirits, riding points in three straight games. Fresh off a home victory on Thursday Night, the last-place Knoxville Ice Bears would come to town, looking to change their recent luck against Middle Georgia’s team.
Coming into the night, Macon had just one goal in the first period all season; they would change that statistic in a major way. Just 1:52 into the game, Jimmy Soper would find a loose puck in front of the net of Peter Di Salvo, and bang it through for the first Mayhem 1-0 lead of the season. They would maintain that lead, while battling a long while in their defensive end thanks to a majority of faceoffs and a good Knoxville forecheck. With a delayed penalty due up against the Ice Bears, Mason Baptista found himself all alone toward the front of the net, took a rebound, and put it on twine with 6:21 to go into the frame. The 2-0 lead wouldn’t last long for the Mayhem, as David Brancik would shoot a sloppy puck on net that would sneak through Ryan Ruck’s five-hole just 29 seconds later. With just 1:26 remaining in the first period, Derek Topatigh would slap a shot from the top of the right circle that would reach top shelf for the third mark of the evening for the Mayhem. After 20 minutes of play, the Mayhem would hold a 16-7 shot advantage, and a 3-1 lead.
In the second period, not much would change on the scoresheet or on the ice. A solid Knoxville Forecheck, and opportunities on the powerplay for each side would be all she wrote for the second 20 minutes. The teams would come and go off the ice, with shots stuck at 9-9, and a shot advantage of 25-16 for Macon, to compliment a 3-1 lead.
Fireworks would be the theme of the third period, started from a shorthanded goal from Austin Plevy of Knoxville on a fantastic individualistic effort from end to end. Not content to go out quietly, Macon would explode for four goals in the final 10 minutes of the game. Logan Coomes would start it off on the four-on-four with 9:12 to go, and 21 seconds later, Max Cook would do the same with a ripper from the high slot. With those two four-on-four goals, the Mayhem would lead 5-2, but wouldn’t be done yet. On a shorthanded opportunity, Mason Baptista would sling his second into the back of the net. Finally, with their third powerplay opportunity, Jared Bethune would score from his backside to mercykill this game 7-2. A number of fights, misconducts, and extra curricular activity would follow in the final minutes, and after the end of the game, but the score would remain the same.
Macon earned its first home victory in nearly a year in dominant fashion, and had the fans of Middle Georgia rocking all night long. The team moves to 4-1-1 on the season, and looks for their first home sweep welcoming in the Birmingham Bulls on Saturday Night for Margaritaville Night. Puck drops at 6:30 P.M. from the Macon Centreplex.