MACON, Ga. – In the past week, the Macon Mayhem have taken noticeable steps forward on the ice, playing nothing like a team in the lower reaches of the SPHL standings.
That continued on Saturday night against Knoxville at the Macon Coliseum.
One night after taking a point in an overtime loss against the second-place Ice Bears, Macon showed that it was no fluke, this time taking an overtime win of its own when Nigel Slade got the puck past Knoxville goalie Evan Moyse to win it for the Mayhem on Country Moo-Sic Night.
Coming into this week, the Mayhem (5-20-2, 12 points) sported an 0-3 record against Knoxville (21-3-3, 45 points). This weekend’s result? A win and overtime loss, giving Macon an overall five of six possible points in its past three games, its best three-game stretch of the season so far.
“This is amazing to go to overtime against these guys and get the win,” Mayhem head coach Zac Desjardins said. “Everyone is chipping in. It’s not just one or two guys. It’s everyone stepping up and it’s awesome.”
More notable? The closest Macon had come to beating Knoxville before this weekend was a 3-1 opening-night loss, and the other teams the Mayhem have beat this season, Birmingham, Evansville, and Roanoke are no higher than sixth in the standings. With 12 points earned, the Mayhem is two points out of ninth behind Birmingham and 12 shy of eighth-place Evansville.
Saturday’s OT winner added to Slade’s late-game heroics for Macon, which re-tied the game 11:22 into the final period as he scored his first of two goals.
It was actually Macon’s second comeback of the night. Down 2-0 early in the second following a first-period goal by J.B. Baker and one in the second from Razmuz Waxin-Engback, the Mayhem finished the second period with a flurry of scoring to come back from a first-period deficit for the third time in as many games. A pair of Macon goals in the final two minutes of the second were just the ticket for the Mayhem tying the score and energizing their most spirited home crowd of the season.
“The fans were great. They were excited and the players were excited,” Desjardins said. “It’s huge knowing that we can play with everybody. We just have to show up and work.”
First it was Zak Lambrecht scoring for the fifth time in three games 18:46 into the second. Macon was not done. During a wild exchange in front of the Knoxville net just prior to the second intermission, it was Caleb Cameron getting position to knock the puck in with just three ticks to go in the second.
“It was them working hard. We persevered and got it done,” Desjardins said.
Gregg Hussey got his first start in goal for Macon, settling in as the game went on to stop 40 out of 43 shots. His counterpart, Moyse, made 30 saves, facing 34 shots.
Macon begins a four-game road trip next Friday at Birmingham.
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