MACON, Ga. – Hockey is a game of streaks. For the Macon Mayhem, two streaks came to an end in its pair of games against Fayetteville, dropping a 4-3 overtime decision on Friday before giving up five unanswered goals in Saturday night’s 5-2 loss.
With the pair of setbacks, Macon’s five-game home winning streak ended Friday while their point streak lasting three games also came to a conclusion.
The Mayhem (8-16-4 with 20 points) got the start that it needed on Friday, scoring a pair of times in the first period. The pressure on the Marksmen (16-3-6, 38 points) zone paid off on goals by Stephen Pierog and Josh Koepplinger. The lead, not to mention the momentum, would come undone thanks to Fayetteville.
The Marksmen showed as the game went on why it is among the SPHL’s top teams and Macon is interlocked in a fight for the league’s final two playoff spots, taking a 3-2 lead in the second prior to pulling away in the third. Fayetteville used their speed to seize on miscues by Macon. With the Mayhem making things a bit easier for Marksmen, the visitors from the Cape Fear region were able to overwhelm Macon goalie Hayden Stewart, who despite the strong overall night in the crease was unable to keep the Marksmen off the board. The netminder stopped 27 of 32 shots on Saturday.
“That was a bit of a wake-up call. We had a winning streak at home and a streak of points in three games in a row which was big for us,” Mayhem Head Coach Ryan Michel said. “We have to work hard and they worked harder than us (this weekend).”
Just over a minute after Koepplinger made it a 2-0 Macon lead, a costly turnover by the Mayhem got the Marksmen on the board when Taylor McCloy turned a turnover in the neutral zone into a short-handed score, and McCloy scored goal number two 61 seconds later to tie the score. Brian Bowen notched the second short-handed goal for Fayetteville at 18:09 of the second, with Bowen and John Gustafsson padding the advantage in the third.
“They’re highly skilled, play really fast. You have to play them hard and make them go the length of the ice,” Coach Michel said. “We didn’t make them do those things in the two periods.”
Saturday contrasted from Friday in that this time, Macon was unable to rally back and salvage at least one point in the standings. In that contest, the Mayhem came back from 1-0 and 3-2 to force overtime where Macon ultimately fell on an Alec Marsh goal.
Dylan Denomme’s return to Macon, with him being on ice with the Mayhem for the first time since April of 2018, sparked the effort with a goal and an assist.
Macon is now in a three-way tie for eighth place in the SPHL standings and two behind seventh. The Mayhem will begin a five-game road swing next weekend, playing Fayetteville Friday and one of the teams it is tied with in the standings, Roanoke, on Saturday and Sunday.
THREE STARS OF THE WEEKEND
Dylan Denomme – One goal, one assist on Friday.
Stephen Pierog – Scored a goal on Saturday to go with three assists on Friday. His 23 points and 16 assists lead the team.
Stathis Soumelidis – Combined to have two assists during the weekend.
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