MACON, Ga. – An inability to put together a full 60 minutes of hockey again bit the Macon Mayhem on Saturday night against Pensacola. The Ice Flyers made a two-goal lead stand up on the way to a 4-0 win. Pensacola swept the home-and-home between the teams after winning 7-1 on Friday at the Pensacola Bay Center.
The Mayhem, which host Roanoke next weekend, have now lost two in a row and have split their last four games overall.
Pensacola goalie Sean Kuhn got the shutout against the Mayhem, which has now been held scoreless in two of their past five games. Kuhn stopped all 24 shots that he faced against Macon.
Macon was outshot in every period but the third, when it held an 11-6 edge. Although Pensacola added its fourth goal of the game in the final stanza with Dylan Carabia doing so, the final 20 minutes did give Macon something to hang its hat on going forward.
“I thought the third period was the best in the last six we’ve played against these guys,” Mayhem head coach Zac Desjardins said. ” They’re a fast team, they advance the puck, it’s a lot of stretching and filling someone in. We learned that if we let the play come to us, we can interrupt it.”
Perhaps no span of the game encapsulated Macon’s struggles to put a full game together than the closing seconds of the first period.
Near the end of the opening 20 minutes, Macon trailed 1-0, a solid position to be in going into the first intermission. All of that changed with nine seconds left when Brandon Tucker notched the puck past Macon goalie Michael Stiliadis for the 2-0 lead. Stiliadis, making the start in Macon for the first time since last Friday against Evansville, stopped 22-of-26 shots.
It wrapped up an opening period in which Pensacola had an upper hand in more ways than one. The Ice Flyers not only had 13-4 shots on goal advantage, but Macon also limited itself on generating much offensive momentum in serving five minor penalties.
“It’s just with everything else that’s been going on with us,” Desjardins said. “We played a decent first period, had good penalty kills and they got that one at the end. It’s like, ‘here we go, again.’ It’s tough to battle through with young guys. It deflates you and takes the wind out of your sails, a little bit.”
Pensacola, which opened the scoring on one of those Macon penalties, a boarding penalty to Chris Corgan as Matt Rupert made it 1-0, got a second-period goal from Marcus Russell. Both Russell and Tucker had a two-point night for Pensacola.
“Most teams down 3-0 with that, they’ll quit, and (Saturday), we didn’t quit,” Desjardins said.
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