MACON, Ga. – With one team still full of faces relatively fresh to the SPHL and the one on the opposite bench having a strong share of seasoning, a span of 151 seconds made all the difference in the world between the Macon Mayhem and the Huntsville Havoc on Friday night at the Macon Coliseum in a 4-1 for by Huntsville in Macon’s season opener.
Or as Mayhem head coach Nick Niedert put it?
“We went to sleep for 1:51 and it cost us a hockey game, you cannot do that against a team of Huntsville’s caliber,” Niedert said. “There was not panic on the bench (after going down 3-0), but there was panic between their ears. They looked calm, but you knew they weren’t. That’s the difference between an experienced team and one of fresh faces.”
The stretch of three goals, the first being in the final seconds of a power play on a goal by Carter Roo, briefly opened the flood gates for Huntsville. Following the goal 3:41 into the first, it would then be Austin Martinsen’s turn at 4:42 followed by Tyler Piacentini 5:32 into the second period. It all added up to a 4-0 Havoc win as Hunstsville held a 32-28 shots on-goal advantage and Nick Latinovich earned the shutout. His Macon counterpart Jsoh Benson had 28 saves.
It undid an opening 20 minutes by Macon in which the Mayhem not only turned away a pair of power-play chances by the Havoc, but set a physical tone. Just 14 seconds into the game, the two teams had their first skirmish with a coming together in front of the Macon net with Huntsville’s Kyle Clarke and Macon’s Jamie Dorsey drawing roughing penalties.
“I loved the start and response,” Niedert said. “We had a good group on the ice to start. I loved the response and pushing and shoving after the whistle. It was great to see.”
Macon also had a flurry of scoring chances, but in a story of how the night went on the offensive end, the bounces would elude the Mayhem.
“We showed glimpses, but glimpses aren’t good enough the win in this league,” Niedert said.
Huntsville got no such bad luck, as a Kyle Clarke goal off of an opportune deflection allowed the Havoc to lead 4-0. The Mayhem showed fight to the end in more ways that one in the final 20 minutes. One, by refusing to roll over and allow Huntsville to pour on multiple goals. Secondly, by sending a message that the Mayhem would stand their ground. In the third period, the 2,000-plus fans saw not one, but two fights, the first seeing veteran David Nippard go at it with Huntsville’s Dominick Procopio while in the final minute, Macon’s Tory McLean and Bryce Ferrell, a center-ice scuffle among multiple players that even resulted in one of the SPHL on-ice officials, linesman Andrew Sullivan, being helped off the ice after being knocked over.
Macon returns to action Saturday at Pensacola.
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