Macon was on the verge of a loss on the road to open its SPHL semifinal series.
But a pair of goals in the final six minutes lifted Macon past Pensacola 3-2 Wednesday night to take the first game of the best-of-three series.
Macon finally gets to play at home in the postseason on Friday, for the second time in two seasons, when the Mayhem host Pensacola at 7:35 p.m. at the Macon Coliseum. Tickets (803-1592) are available.
The Mayhem was clutch down the stretch in taking advantage of some Ice Flyers’ miscues on the same day that Macon’s Kevin Kerr was named the Coach of the Year in the SPHL.
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After a scoreless second period, Pensacola got on the board and took the lead.
The first came off the stick of Patrick Megannety, while rookie Ken Neil picked up the second goal. Aaron Clarke picked up assists on both goals.
With just less than six minutes left, Stephen Pierog scored his second of the playoffs to tie the game up, converting a blue-line turnover.
"Five feet from the blue line," Pensacola head coach Rod Aldoff told the Pensacola News-Journal. "It (puck) should have been just flipped out."
The drama continued.
Barely two minutes remained when Jake Trask scored his third goal of the postseason, right after winning a puck drop, to give the Mayhem the 3-2 lead.
Goalie Jordan Ruby made the lead stand up, with a few stops in the final minute. He stopped 32 of 34 shots for his third straight postseason win. Matt Zenzola gave up three goals on 33 shots for Pensacola.
A crowd of 3,012 watched a game in which there were no penalties called, and the teams each had 26 shots entering the third period.
The Mayhem served two minutes and the Ice Flyers four minutes in penalties. That’s likely to grow with the season on the line for Pensacola.
The Mayhem started out the scoring at the 10:19 mark of the first period.
Ryan Michel blasted a slap shot past Pensacola goaltender Matt Zenzola for his first goal of the postseason. Daniel Gentzler and Trask picked up the assists on the goal.
There was no scoring in the second frame, nor penalties through two periods, but within a two-minute span, in the third period, the Ice Flyers scored two goals to take the 2-1 lead.
Alas, Macon rallied to win its fourth game in Pensacola.
On the other hand, the Ice Flyers will come to town with confidence. They have won in Macon twice this season.
Macon has outscored Columbus and Pensacola 10-6 in four postseason games. Pensacola has outscored Fayetteville and Macon 7-5. The Ice Flyers beat Fayetteville 3-1 and 2-1 in the first round.
Macon held Louis Belisle, who was second in the league in shots, to only one shot. He was also fifth in the SPHL in points.