Ruck Stops 31, Macon Wins Sixth Straight

MACON, GA – Five-straight wins, five points needed to claim the William B. Coffey Trophy as Southern Professional Hockey League Regular Season Champions. The Macon Mayhem, coming off a 2-1 overtime win on Tuesday Night in Knoxville, hosted the Pensacola Ice Flyers on Thursday Night in Middle Georgia. Pensacola, battling for its playoff life, was seeking its first regulation win against Macon, who it was previously 8-0-2 against.
An early Power Play opportunity for the Mayhem would prove fruitless, but ultimately wouldn’t matter as Brian Bowen would sneak one through the five-hole of Jake Kupsky for the Mayhem’s first goal of the night. Bowen, a former Ice Flyer, would secure his 10th point in 7 games against his former team, and his 16th goal of the year. Pensacola would have little response, as Macon would execute crisp, perfect passing around the low slot, finding an open Derek Topatigh for his second goal of the season, and giving Macon a 2-0 lead with 5:05 to go. Unable to capitalize on another Power Play, the Mayhem would be happy with a 2-0 lead into the intermission, leading in shots 11-9.
Period two would prove the bend-but-don’t-break of the Mayhem defense, as Ryan Ruck would face 15 shots, and stop all that came his way. With 1:26 of 5-on-3 time for the Ice Flyers, Ruck would stonewall everything toward his net, and keep the scoreless streak alive for Pensacola. As the period would wind on, the Mayhem would get a chance on their third power play, but be unable to find paydirt. They would, however, find a goal on the penalty kill, as Gabe Guertler would force a turnover in front of the Mayhem bench, and strike from the circles for a topshelf shorty. Macon would take a 3-0 lead into the intermission, trailing in shots 24-19.
Pensacola would have their opportunities in the third period to draw within striking distance of the Mayhem. With two Power Play chances, the Ice Flyers would strike for one, with Frederic Letourneau scoring his third with just over four minutes left to go. That would be as close as Pensacola would come, as Ruck and the Mayhem would do their part and finish off the Ice Flyers for a 3-1 win.
With the win, the Mayhem have now won six-straight games, five-straight against Pensacola for a 9-0-2 record against them, and have a commanding 10-point lead over second place Knoxville. The Mayhem will welcome back the Ice Flyers one last time on home ice on Friday Night at 6 P.M. – an early puck drop to accommodate for the Georgia-Auburn hockey game directly after at the Macon Coliseum.