PENSACOLA, FL – Winning is contagious, as the Macon Mayhem have learned during their various streaks this season. With a win last night, the Mayhem would return to the Pensacola Bay Center looking to secure the weekend sweep. With every point and every game being more crucial as the calendar draws closer to May, the Mayhem knew the importance of the battle.
Ryan Ruck and Jack Berry would do battle again in net for the Mayhem and Ice Flyers. Both would be susceptible to early goals before the halfway mark of the first period, however. Jared Bethune, recently returned from his ECHL tenure, would net his fourth goal of the year for Macon not even five minutes into the game. The lead would not last long for the Mayhem, as Jordan Ernst would score just minutes later for the Flyers to knot things 1-1. With the Mayhem on the power play late in the frame, Jason Tackett would continue to gobble up points with his second goal of the season. Tackett’s mark would send the Mayhem into the first intermission with a 2-1 lead, despite being outshot 16-14.
With six minors and a pair of fighting majors assessed, it goes without saying that penalties would be the theme of the second period. After a pair of Mayhem kills, Jason Tackett would net his second goal of the night and build the Macon lead. Jimmy Soper and Michael Chen would drop the gloves following the goal, and keep the energy inside the arena at its peak. In the final :44 of the frame, Garrett Milan’s fifth of the season would make it a one-goal game heading into the final frame; 3-2 in favor of the Mayhem.
Outside of a pair of early penalties split between the two teams, the third period would be the quickest of the entire game. There’d be no scoreboard-impacting action in the final frame, until Brian Bowen would serve for a hook with just under six minutes to go. With the net empty on the opposite side, Bowen would come up with an empty-netter for a second-straight weekend. Ryan Ruck would lead the way for the weekend sweep, and the Mayhem would close out on the road with a 4-2 win over Pensacola.
Winners of three-straight, the Mayhem return home on Thursday and Saturday nights with a slim but growing lead in first place. With next week turning the calendar over to April, the SPHL heads into its final full month of hockey before the playoffs begin. Now is the battle for positioning, and the continued battle of attrition leading to the post-season.