November 10, 2017 - Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) - Evansville Thunderbolts
After winning both games in Roanoke last weekend, Evansville had their biggest test yet last night, taking on the defending President's Cup champions, the Macon Mayhem. The Thunderbolts fell to Macon on Ford Center ice a few weeks ago. Evansville outplayed their opponent, raising optimism despite the loss, that this team could match Macon and anybody else in the league. Indeed, the Bolts stood up to the test and took down the Mayhem in their own building, 4-2.
After going on the power play 1 minute in, the Thunderbolts' red-hot power play went to work, and in the fading seconds, Dave Williams would score from the slot to give Evansville the 1-0 lead at the 2:51 mark from John Scorcia and Blake Thompson. Macon would come back to score the tying goal halfway through the period, from John Gustafsson, off a feed from the corner from John Siemer, to make it 1-1 at the 7:21 mark. Dennis Sicard would pick up an assist as well. The Bolts would regain the lead at the 14:51 mark, as Don Olivieri would pick off a pass at the red line, skate into the Macon zone, get around a defender and shoot the puck over the glove of Charlie Finn to make it 2-1.
Evansville refused to relax going into the 2nd period and Justin MacDonald would take control. Only 41 seconds in, Brandon Lubin would lob a shot into the crease, and although Dylan Clarke couldn't settle the puck down, MacDonald would find it and fire it past Finn to make it 3-1. Macon coach Kevin Kerr had seen enough and pulled Finn in favor of Troy Passingham. Immediately the momentum would shift to Macon, awakened by the switch.
Stathis Soumelidis would score a few minutes later, at the 7:32 mark, off a setup from Ryan Salkeld, past Tomas Sholl to make it a 1 goal game again.
Despite persistent pressure from Macon in the 2nd and 3rd periods, Sholl would hold down the fort in net and the defense would help break up as many plays as they could. The Bolts would be rewarded for their efforts, as a series of bounces would go their way. First, a turnover by Stephen Pierog behind the Macon goal would set up an easy tap in by MacDonald, making it 4-2 at the 5:30 mark. Not even a minute later, a Macon breakaway would beat Sholl,
but hit the post and bounce right out the other away. Macon would again strike the iron, this time the crossbar, immediately after that, and still couldn't find a way to put the puck in the net. Despite everything Macon could throw to the net, Evansville would match it the rest of the way, and 4-2 would be the final score.
For Macon, Gustafsson and Soumelidis have the goals, Finn stopped 12 of 15 shots for the loss and Passingham stopped 10 of 11 shots in relief. For Evansville, MacDonald scored 2 goals, Olivieri and Williams a goal each and Finn would stop 35 of 37 shots for the win. Attendance for tonight's game in Macon was 1,311. These two teams meet again at the Macon Coliseum tonight, with a 6:35 p.m. cst face-off.