Mayhem Season Ends in Heartbreaking Loss to Ice Bears
In a must-win home game against the Knoxville Ice Bears, the Mayhem let a late lead slip and fell by a 3-2 final to conclude their fourth season in Macon.
For a second straight night, the Mayhem got the better of the Ice Bears to start the game. They outskated them in the opening period, but ended up being outshot 12-11. Jordan Ruby fought off a surge of Knoxville shots towards the end of the period on back-to-back Ice Bears power plays.
Eight minutes into the contest, Larry Smith snapped a shot from the blue line, forcing Hayden Stewart to kick out his right pad to make the save. The puck rebounded right to Jake Trask, who smacked the puck into the net and give Macon its first lead of the postseason. However, Mitchell Mueller responded with a shorthanded goal, firing an off-speed one-timer from the left circle which fluttered past Jordan Ruby to tie the score late in the opening period.
Macon's power play finished the season strong after a slow start to the campaign, demonstrating excellent puck movement and scoring twice on the man-advantage in the last day of the regular season. However, Knoxville's penalty kill ranked first in the SPHL at 92%, and it successfully fought off two Macon power plays in the second period. Though the Mayhem outshot the visitors 11-5 in the middle frame, both teams entered the third period tied up 1-1.
Both sides exchanged opportunities early in period three. Kristaps Bazevics was sent to the penalty box for holding 8:41 into the final stanza after attempting to impede an oncoming counterattack. The Mayhem penalty kill succeeded again, improving to 4-for-4 on the night.
Twelve minutes into the third, former Ice Bear Danny Cesarz ripped a wrist shot from above the left circle which ricocheted off a backboard stanchion directly to Derek Sutliffe at the side of Stewart's crease. Sutliffe chipped the puck over the goaltender's pad before he could adjust, giving the Mayhem a late 2-1 advantage. Less than two minutes later, Mueller burst through the Macon defense and flung a shot past Ruby to re-tie the game and silence the Macon Centreplex.
It appeared as though the tilt was destined for overtime, which the Mayhem had not experienced in nearly two months. However, with just 93 seconds remaining in regulation, Mueller centered a pass from below the Mayhem goal, setting up Chandler Madry with a point-blank opportunity. The Knoxville forward whacked the puck from the bottom of the left circle over the blocker of Ruby, giving the Ice Bears their first lead of the night.
With their season on the line, the Mayhem flooded the Knoxville zone in the closing seconds, pressing to tie the game. Their efforts fell short and their season came to an end, as they fell by a 3-2 final on home ice.
The Mayhem would like to thank all who have made our fourth season in Macon a possibility. Details regarding next season can be found on the Mayhem website, maconmayhem.com, and will be posted throughout the summer on Mayhem social media. We look forward to your continued support in the future. As always, Let's Go Mayhem!
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Southern Professional Hockey League Stories from April 13, 2019
- Mayhem Season Ends in Heartbreaking Loss to Ice Bears - Macon Mayhem
- Bulls Win Game 2 at Home - Birmingham Bulls
- Preview: Mayhem vs. Knoxville Ice Bears (Challenge Round, Game 2) - Macon Mayhem
- No Bull: Pawloski Serves Birmingham First Shutout of the Season - Fayetteville Marksmen
- Ice Bears Grab Series Lead - Knoxville Ice Bears
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