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Macon Mayhem

SPHL Game Recap/Analysis

Railyard Dawgs stay hot against depleted Mayhem

Railyard Dawgs stay hot against depleted Mayhem

MACON, Ga. – Before Saturday’s game against Roanoke even reached puck drop for the Macon Mayhem, they were shorthanded by two top players with CJ Hayes and Rhett Kingston, two of their leaders on the scoresheet, serving one-game suspensions from a slew footing incident the night before. Macon was even more depleted in the second period when Caleb Cameron was given a game misconduct penalty.

Even still, Macon held its own with one of the SPHL’s hottest teams, getting within a goal going into the final minutes before a pair of empty-net goals by Dillon Radin and Billy Vizzo made the final 5-2, one night after a Macon comeback fell short in a 5-4 loss.

“We’re not getting blown out. Tonight looked like (heck) on the scoresheet, 5-2, but it’s a 3-2 hockey game,” Mayhem head coach Nick Niedert said. “We’re shorthanded, they’re shorthanded. It’s not an excuse. We’ve got to find a way.”

The Railyard Dawgs have now won seven in a row overall, staying unbeaten in the month of December. The Mayhem have lost six in a row, all but two of those losses by two or fewer goals.

Cam Gray, who came along in relief Friday, stopping 2o out of 22 shots, got his first career SPHL start on Saturday, kept Macon in it, holding the Railyard Dawgs off the scoreboard over the final 30 minutes and overall stopping 29-of-32 shots. Before that, Roanoke would crash the net and crack through, first at 5:58 of the game when a snipe by CJ Valerian beat Gray’s block for a 1-0 lead.

Though depleted, Macon had other faces to step up. David Nippard was one of them. The veteran forward got one of his two goals on the night 11:17 into the first, playing a shot from the point by Timothy Faulkner to tie it 1-1 with Kyle Soper also assisting.

Roanoke’s pressure in the Macon zone would continue to pay off in the second, getting a pair of markers by CJ Stubbs and Radin at 3:39 and 9:06 to lead 3-1. Stubbs goal was of the power-play variety, coming in a 20-minute frame in which Macon picked up four different two-minute minor penalties. But despite all of that, the Mayhem still found themselves with the came not out of reach.

It got further into reach just 1:48 into the third when the Mayhem got some special-teams magic of their own with Nippard redirecting a shot from the point on an assist from Rourke Russell and Jacob Ratcliffe.

The Mayhem continued to crash the net from there, working to get it past Roanoke goalie Austyn Roudebush, but he held his ground the rest of the way, stopping 24-of-26 shots to hold the Mayhem at bay, including a faceoff during the final minutes that Roanoke turned back.

Kingston and Hayes will rejoin Macon on Thursday against Birmingham after serving Saturday’s suspension.

“We lose two guys two to suspensions, and after I talked to the league and department of safety, I understood what they were talking about,” Niedert said. “Those are our top guys for us. Obviously, scoring will be a little lower, so guys have to step up.”

What’s Next?

Macon hosts Birmingham on Thursday, with Roanoke playing at home Friday against Fayetteville.

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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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