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Game Recap/Analysis

Mayhem jump ahead early, blank Ice Flyers

Mayhem jump ahead early, blank Ice Flyers

MACON, Ga. – Leading the SPHL standings, the Macon Mayhem kept the hammer down on Thursday night against Pensacola, getting on the board early for a 5-0 win with Jake Theut posting a shutout.

Thursday’s game started a three games in three nights span for Macon. The Mayhem and Ice Flyers play again on Friday at the Macon Coliseum before going to Huntsville on Saturday. The Mayhem then go to Knoxville on Tuesday in a battle for first place.

It’s the second loss in a row for the Ice Flyers, who have been outscored by a combined score of 3-0 in the first period of those two defeats. Macon (22-5-4, 48 points) leads Knoxville for the league lead by four points. Pensacola (13-14-5, 31 points) is currently fourth in the standings, two points out of third and six points ahead of Birmingham for the final President’s Cup playoff spot.

“We jumped on them early and were able to capitalize on a couple of good opportunities,” Mayhem head coach Kevin Kerr said. “It kind of snowballed after that.”

The Mayhem enjoyed a strong amount of scoring balance on Thursday with four players have more than one point with one of them Jimmy Soper having three. Nate Kallen, Stathis Soumelidis and Mason Baptista also had two-point nights.

Macon wasted very little time taking control on Thursday. Just 1:37 into the game, Soumelidis, broke free in the slot and fired the puck past Pensacola goalie Jake Kupsky to hand Macon a 1-0 lead. Soper assisted on the goal, and it wouldn’t be the final time that the line consisting of Soper and Soumelidis got on the scoresheet.

The Mayhem made it 2-0 by way of a Soper goal with Soumelidis and Kallen assisting 7:30 into the first period. The first period ended up being a sampling of what was to come in the second.

On the heels of a penalty kill, Soper set Baptista up, and the result was his 14th goal of the season 1:55 into the frame. Kallen joined the two-point party 13:28 into the second with an assist from Logan Coomes and Meyer. Adding another notch was one more of the Mayhem’s top scorers, Brian Bowen, broke free on the right side, and the result was a 5-0 lead, enough for the Ice Flyers to pull Kupsky in favor of Jack Berry.

“It gives our guys a lot of confidence,” Kerr said of the early lead. “There were stretches where we didn’t play well, but they were able to fight through it.”

From there, Theut turned away all 11 shots he faced in the third period, giving him an overall 32 saves in preserving the shutout.

Macon and Pensacola play again at 6 p.m. on Friday, and Kerr does not expect the Ice Flyers to be an easy win.

“They’re a good hockey team, they’ll be ready to play,” Kerr said.

Also in the SPHL…

Huntsville, 3, Birmingham 2 (OT)

Nolan Kaiser’s overtime goal won it for the Havoc in a game that saw both teams score in the final three minutes of regulation. After Shane Bednard gave Huntsville a 2-1 lead at 17:11 of the third, Tanner Froese hit the equalizer 34 seconds later, helping to force overtime.

The Havoc have won three in a row and host the top two teams in the SPHL on Friday and Saturday, Knoxville and Macon, respectively. Birmingham hosts Knoxville on Saturday.

 

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    Brad Harrison covers the Macon Mayhem for Field Pass Hockey. Follow and interact with him on Twitter @FPHMayhem.

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