For the second time in three games, the Macon Mayhem saw a two-goal lead evaporate and a game go into overtime because of that. But unlike eight days ago in a loss to Pensacola, history did not repeat itself.
Collin MacDonald knocked in a rebound in front of the net in overtime to give the Mayhem a 3-2 win over first-place Huntsville. The Mayhem and Havoc have split their games this season season, with the final three of the year currently scheduled to be played in Huntsville.
Matt Johnson and Daniel Gentzler gave Macon (20-6-5) a 2-0 lead through two periods before Huntsville got two shots past Mayhem goalie Jordan Ruby within 20 seconds of the third period.
But Ruby and the Mayhem kept their composure, keeping Huntsville (24-8-1) off the board and taking the game to overtime where they won for the second time in three games.
Five who mattered
MacDonald: He had a part in all three goals, notching assists on the first two and knocking in a rebound past Huntsville goalie Tyler Steel in overtime for the win. The rebound came off a shot by Jake Trask that was deflected in front of the net, and MacDonald took advantage.
Johnson: Johnson played a part in Macon’s first two goals of the game to give the Mayhem a 2-0 lead through two periods. His slap shot from the middle of the attack zone was the game’s first goal 12:21 into the first period. In the second, he assisted on Gentzler’s goal at the 17:33 mark.
Gentzler: He made it a two-goal game in the second period when his wrist shot from the right side snaked its way past Steel 17:33 into the second period.
Johnny Daniels and Stuart Stefan: Their slap shot goals for Huntsville 20 seconds apart tied the game at 2 at 11:09 into the third period, forcing overtime.
Getting physical: The game included plenty of pushing and shoving after the whistle, with game officials appearing to give both teams more leeway than usual. It will be intriguing to see if any of that play carries over to the next meeting between the teams on Feb. 23 in Huntsville.
Strong start: The Mayhem did what they pointed to as a key earlier this week when approaching the matchup with Huntsville. Macon starting the game off on the right foot, claiming the 1-0 lead after a period with the teams also being even in shots on goal at 13. The starting stages went beyond the scoreboard. The Mayhem killed off a Huntsville penalty after they were whistled for having too many men on the ice 41 seconds into the game.
Killing it off: The Mayhem’s penalty kill unit had a strong night, keeping the SPHL’s third-ranked power play scoreless in all four chances.
Contributors aplenty: Johnson’s goal put him into a three-way tie for third on the team in goals scored with seven. Gentzler and MacDonald’s goals gave them eight on the year, moving both into a tie for second with Trask. John Siemer leads the team with 12.
Standings update: Macon cuts into Huntsville’s lead in the SPHL standings, now trailing the Havoc by five points.
They said it
MacDonald on the goal: “It was a good play by (Trask). We were at the end of our shift, and we made a good play on it.”
MacDonald on getting the win after losing the previous meeting against Huntsville: “We went down there and and got our bells rung 4-0, but we didn’t think we played that bad. There was a lot of adversity going on then for both teams. We’re glad to get a win, but wish we could have gotten it in regulation.”
Mayhem head coach Kevin Kerr on battling back for the win: “We found a way to win. We’ve had a hard time finding ways to win the last couple weeks, and now we’re finding ways to win. It’s a good feeling. The momentum had shifted their way and we started doing the little things, didn’t let the referees dictate the game and we battled through it and ended up getting the win.”
The Mayhem start at four-game road trip Tuesday at Mississippi and next play at home Feb. 17, also against Mississippi.