By Shawn Bednard | Macon Mayhem
With the Regular Season Championship secured and the #1 seed in the playoffs all locked in, the Macon Mayhem are able to breathe a little easier going into the final weeks of the regular season. Not expecting a championship hangover thanks to Coach Kerr, the Mayhem welcomed in the Huntsville Havoc for a Saturday Night affair at the Macon Coliseum. Huntsville continues to battle for its playoff life after a 6-1 loss to Birmingham last night. The Mayhem, winners of seven-straight, looked to keep their good graces going to finish the weekend.
It's hard to use the word perfect to describe any period of hockey, but for the Macon Mayhem, period one was pretty darn close to perfection. Five minutes into the frame, Andrew Romano would score his sixth goal of the season in his first game in some time, tipping a shot from Matt Stief in front of the net. As nearly 10 minutes passed by, the Mayhem would continue their offensive pressure, and get a gift goal from a poorly-positioned Peter Sikalis. The Havoc defenseman would be the guilty party of an own-goal from a Jason Tackett shot, and the Mayhem would find themselves up 2-0. 4:10 later in the frame, Gabe Guertler would work tenaciously to force one past the netminder Jason Pawloski and give the Mayhem a 3-0 lead heading to the first intermission. Macon would have minimal shots against, no penalties, and three goals in their favor after 20.
Things would normalize in the second period, as both teams would play hard-nosed 200-foot hockey. Nearly nine minutes into the new frame, Jimmy Soper would score on a backhand in the low slot through the five hole of Pawloski, and give the Mayhem a 4-0 lead. With the first penalty of the game being called with just over five minutes left, the Havoc would score their first goal on the Power Play, as Nolan Kaiser would be credited with the tip past Ruck. After 40, the Mayhem would hold a 4-1 lead, and lead in shots 25-18.
The final frame would see the continuation of success from the previous Huntsville goal. In the final 20 minutes, Macon would see an early goal from Shane Bednard - his fourth of the year - to make it a 4-2 game with 16:56 left to go. Macon would continue to look to kill the clock, as Rob Darrar would net his eighth of the season with 7:04 to goal. Over seven minutes left and a one-goal game, the Havoc would put on the full-court press in hopes of securing a comeback. With their backs against the wall, the Mayhem would lean on top-rookie goaltender Ryan Ruck to take it home. With innumerous blocks in front of his net in the final two minutes, the Mayhem would just hold on for the 4-3 victory over Huntsville.
With the win, Macon secures its 28th win of the year, and draws its winning-streak up to eight-straight. The Mayhem return to Knoxville on Tuesday night, then over to Birmingham on Saturday Night. Macon finishes out the home-portion of its regular season schedule on April 30, before the playoffs begin the first week of May.