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Mayhem Win Sixth Straight Despite Penalty Trouble

November 9, 2018 - Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) - Macon Mayhem News Release

KNOXVILLE, TN - Though they found themselves penalized incessantly throughout the night, the Mayhem rallied again in the third period and defeated the Knoxville Ice Bears by a 3-2 final.

Slow starts have been one of the few negative recurring themes which have haunted the Mayhem early in the campaign. They found themselves in penalty trouble early, and conceded the opening goal at 8:59. Knoxville cycled the puck around on their second man-advantage of the game, setting up Danny Cesarz in the left circle. Cesarz unleashed a one-timer to beat Jordan Ruby inside the left post to draw pull ahead 1-0.

Stathis Soumelidis found Macon's best scoring chance in the opening period, driving down the left wing with speed. Knoxville's goaltender Hayden Stewart challenged Soumelidis and cut down his angle, keeping the Ice Bears in front. Soumelidis would later encounter Joe Tolles in a fight, which took place in the Knoxville zone but did not last long. The first period ended with the Ice Bears holding a 1-0 edge.

Knoxville appeared to double up their lead early in the second period when Stefan Brucato tucked a point-blank shot past Ruby, but the goal was disallowed due to a dislodged net. Seconds later, Dakota Klecha capitalized on the momentum and tapped a loose puck past Hayden Stewart to level the score at a goal apiece.

Penalties continued to haunt the Mayhem throughout the night, as they found themselves shorthanded three times in the middle period. In the second instance, Anthony McVeigh redirected a wrist shot taken by Doug Rose in the slot. The redirect deceived Ruby, who could not shut the door in time.

Third periods have been the Mayhem's bread and butter throughout the early season. Heading into Knoxville, Macon had outscored its opponents 10-3 in period three. They continued their late-game dominance yet again.

Being shorthanded for such an enormous portion of the game, the Mayhem had no choice but to attempt to generate some offense on their penalty kills. Klecha raced down the left wing with Justin Levac on his right flank while shorthanded. Klecha fired a pass over to Levac, who returned the puck in soccer-like fashion by kicking it back to Klecha. The veteran winger buried his second goal of the game to tie things up early in the closing stanza.

Shortly after, the Mayhem gave Knoxville a taste of their own medicine with a power play goal. Caleb Cameron set up Jake Trask in close quarters of Stewart, and the SPHL's top goal-scorer found a way to extend his scoring streak to six games. Late in the game, Bazevics was penalized and ejected for a high open-ice hit on Scott Cuthrell, giving the Ice Bears one last chance to tie the game on another man-advantage. However, the Mayhem fought off the onslaught and held on for a 3-2 victory.

Ruby earned his third consecutive win, stopping 25 of the 27 shots Knoxville sent his way. Stewart was charged with his second defeat, denying 28 of 31. The Mayhem will conclude their home-and-home series with the Ice Bears on Saturday, November 10th at the Macon Centreplex. Puck drop is set for 7:35 pm ET.

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