PEORIA, IL- The Macon Mayhem took off Friday morning from Hartsfield -Jackson Airport hoping to soar against the Peoria Rivermen. The Peoria Rivermen, playing in their first game since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, were hoping to ground them. The Rivermen would take home ice to the sound of 3,200 hungry hockey fans eager for a long-awaited reunion.
The Rivermen would carry that Opening Night energy quickly into the first period and start the night off with a bang. Hildebrandt would strike first with a snipe from the right-side circle. Less than a minute later, J.M. Piotrowski would tap home another for the Rivermen. Macon would battle back by starting to get their own shots on goal but were not able to convert. Before the end of the first period, Alec Baer of the Rivermen would tally one more with a nice one timer by Mayhem goaltender Luke Cohen.
The second period would begin with a similar vigor for the Rivermen as Cody Dion would slot the puck behind Cohen for their fourth tally of the game. Mayhem Coach Zac Desjardins, trying to spark the Mayhem, would then substitute Michael Stiliadis for Luke Cohen. Before Stiliadis even had a chance to settle down in between the pipes, Hildebrandt would fire home his second of the game for Peoria. The Mayhem would find their footing as the second period ticked on. After several strong opportunities on the power play, the Macon Mayhem would lead the game in shots on goal by a virtue of 25 to 21 as the second period drew to a close.
After a dust up between Macon’s Nigel Slade and Peoria’s Alec Hagaman, the third period would open up with both teams skating four on four. The Mayhem would refuse to throw in the towel as the good guys kept battling for pucks and continued to get looks on net. Eventually, Middle Georgia’s team would succumb to yet another goal, this one from Mike Laidley.
It’s normally hard to find positives in a 6-0 loss, but the Mayhem can draw some solace in the fact that they outshot the Rivermen 35 to 27. It’s a cliché but very true statement that sometimes the puck luck just isn’t in your favor. The Mayhem may have taken their bumps and bruises tonight, but they’ll get a shot at redemption tomorrow night in Peoria.