By Shawn Bednard | Macon Mayhem
Fresh from a weekend sweep in Pelham against the last-place Birmingham Bulls, the Macon Mayhem returned home for a three-in-three home weekend. Keeping the Alabama trend going, Macon would host the Huntsville Havoc on Friday Night, looking to continue their winning-ways to kick-off the Cherry Blossom Festival celebration.
Jake Theut and Max Milosek would start in net for the Mayhem and Havoc, respectively, and both goalies would be busy in period one. After an initial eight minutes of relatively calm back-and-forth set ups, the Havoc would come out of the first media timeout of the game with energy, as Tommy Besinger's stick in the blue paint would give him his second goal of the season, and an early Havoc lead with 11:50 to go. Exactly :16 later, #16 Jared Bethune would beat Milosek on the short-side, and knot it up immediately 1-1. A failed power play opportunity for the Mayhem would lead into another media timeout, before Tyler Piacentini would find his eighth goal of the year from a rebound in front. Huntsville would make quick work of the rest of the frame, holding the 2-1 lead with shots in their favor 15-9.
Things would go from bad to worse for the Mayhem in the second period, with the Havoc continuing exactly what worked for them in the first frame. In a near-repeat of the first, Huntsville would find the back of the net with 12:37 to go; Matthew Barnaby falling down and sliding it past Theut for his 10th of the season made it 3-1. Macon would find a pair of unsuccessful power plays, as Huntsville would find the back of the net from Nolan Kaiser for his fifth of the year with 5:45 to go. Huntsville would stonewall any further Macon opportunities, leading to a 4-1 intermission lead and a 26-23 shots advantage.
It's never over until it's over, and it certainly wasn't over with a 4-1 deficit heading into the third period. Early on in the new frame, Gabe Guertler would net his sixth of the season on a re-direct in front, and make the comeback effort reasonably possible. Still two goals were needed, and they would get one of those two from Mason Baptista for his 12th of the season with still 10:51 left to go. On their fifth power play of the night, the Mayhem would finally find paydirt as Dean Balsamo would be rewarded with his fourth of the year with exactly five minutes to go. The Mayhem would continue to apply the pressure, but this game would be destined for OT.
In overtime, the Mayhem continued their dominance through momentum, controlling the puck for a majority of the period. Early into the extra frame, the crossbar would keep the game alive for the Havoc on two different occasions, blocking shots that seemed destined for twine. With 28 seconds left in overtime, the game-winner would be called off after incidental contact from Jason Tackett to Milosek. With not enough time to do it again, we'd head to the shootout. After six scoreless rounds in the shootout, Tyler Piacentini for the Havoc would net the skills competitions lone goal, and prevent the choke for the Havoc with a 5-4 win.