MACON, Ga. – A season-high crowd of more than 5,000 fans flocked to the Macon Coliseum on Friday as the Macon Mayhem hosted the Birmingham Bulls.
They’d end up witnessing the Bulls peppering the Macon end of the ice with 45 shots on goal, enough to skate away with a 6-1 win. The Mayhem, meanwhile, managed just 21 shots on goal. late
Friday’s defeat included multiple trends that have plagued Macon as of late. For the second night in a row, the Mayhem fell behind early and tried to rally back. One night after trailing 3-0 early in a 5-2 loss at Pensacola, Macon found itself in a similar predicament on Friday, going down 2-0 in the first period, first 9:39 in on a goal by Mike Davis before he picked up his second goal of the night in the final minute of the first period, getting the puck by Macon starting goalie Michael Stiliadis.
The Mayhem have also given up five or more goals in five of their past seven games.
“I didn’t think we showed up in the first period again just like (Thursday),” Mayhem head coach Zac Desjardins said. “There’s no excuses for that.”
The Mayhem rallied in the second, cutting that deficit in half to trail 2-1 when Michael Snow’s hard shot from the left got by Bulls goalie Austin Lotz.
But the end of the second period would also be unkind to Macon, as Birmingham’s Brody Duncan made it a 3-1 game 18:51 into the second, handing the Bulls a strong upper hand going into the second intermission.
“That’s when you should be stronger on defense, and I think, mentally, our guys when they’re down, all they think about is offense,” Desjardins said. “I’ve preached to these guys, sometimes your best offense is your defense, just shut them down, take care of opportunities when you get them, and don’t try and force it.”
Birmingham kept the pressure up, keeping the heat on the Macon defensive end. And after a Carson Rose short-handed goal just 1:10 into the third and a Coltyn Bates score made it 5-1 just past the five-minute mark of the third, Stiliadis was replaced by Gregg Hussey, who would allow a single goal the rest of the way in the Bulls win.
“It’s absolutely horrible. I don’t blame our goalies. I pulled (Stiliadis) because I felt bad for him, they just kept shooting and shooting. That’s not fair to him,” Desjardins said. “I thought maybe one or two of those, he should’ve had. You’re down 3-0 because of high-opportunity shots, and that’s not on him.”
Macon and Birmingham play Saturday at 6:30 p.m. The Mayhem close out the season next weekend with three home games against Pensacola.
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