MACON, Ga. – With two wins in a span of three games last weekend, the initial reaction may be to tout Saturday’s 5-4 win over Quad City and Sunday’s 7-4 drubbing of Pensacola as the Macon Mayhem’s best three-game stretch of the season, with both coming after a 3-1 Friday loss to the Storm.
And while that may be the case in the win-loss column, Mayhem head coach Nick Niedert points to a stretch earlier in the month, Feb. 3-5, where a shootout win over Birmingham came two days after a loss in the final minute at Huntsville. As it stands, Macon is wrapping up the month of February with its strongest overall month of the season. Aside from a three-game sweep at the hands of Peoria, the Mayhem are 4-6 this month, and two of those losses came in the final minute of regulation.
“It was the best one in the win column, obviously. We’ve been playing pretty good hockey,” Niedert said. “The best one was the one with Huntsville, Knoxville and Birmingham, but we just weren’t rewarded. This weekend, we were.”
The difference this past weekend? The Mayhem saw tangible results of their efforts.
“That was really tough on the guys,” Niedert said. “It was nice (last weekend) to start seeing the results.”
Macon has caught fire since early in the second period on Saturday. Since trailing 2-1, they have scored a combined 11 goals, and part of that included Rhett Kingston registering a hat trick on Saturday.
Kingston paced Macon to a 3-1 start on Sunday against the Ice Flyers with other early goals from David Nippard and Jesse Anderson.
“To see the guys keep coming, it was great,” Niedert said.
That offensive firepower complemented the play of Trevor Martin in goal on Saturday and Sunday following Cody Karpinski’s turn in net on Friday.
The crease has been a bit of a revolving space for the Mayhem in a quest to not only find a goalie able to come in and make stops but also weather ECHL call-ups. Mayhem fans have seen Cam Gray and Michael Bullion pick up a combined three wins in separate three-game debuts, only to see both called up. With so many different goalies, there’s a bit of an adjustment for the skaters to make, although Niedert says it only takes a few minutes of a game to adapt.
“It usually takes the first couple of minutes. When (Bullion got here) when we played Birmingham, it was an adjustment because he’s so active and plays the puck a lot. Then you see what Trevor did this weekend, it was the same thing. He and Cody are totally different animals, personality and everything,” Niedert said. “Cody played great Friday and gave us a chance to win. Cody is a bit banged up, and he played through it. Trevor got Cody a day off, and we got two wins.”
Another three in three awaits Macon this week with Birmingham, Huntsville, and Knoxville in town on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The Mayhem will be a bit depleted following Carter Roo being placed on the 21-day IR and Sacha Roy being loaned to Savannah, making it 11 times this season that a Mayhem player has taken a trip up Interstate 16 to the Coastal Empire.
“It’s part of the game and part of our league. It’s great for them, it sucks for us,” Niedert said. “It’s good to see guys moving up.”
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