In front of a sellout crowd at the Pensacola Bay Center on Saturday night, the Mayhem were stumped by goaltender Brian Billett and the Ice Flyers and fell by a 3-0 score.
Pensacola dictated the play early, doubling the Mayhem in shots on goal through the first 20 minutes. At 9:45 into the first period, TJ Sarcona finished off a crisp three-way passing play to score his first goal of the season and draw first blood.
Eight minutes after Sarcona’s goal, Pensacola utilized the momentum they had gained from a successful penalty kill to double their lead. Tim Moore spotted the puck in Tanner Creel’s goal-crease and backhanded it past him to give the Ice Flyers a 2-0 advantage.
Macon found itself on a power play 8:09 into the second period following a Ryan Devine tripping infraction. However, Billett kicked out the right pad to deny a pair of point-blank opportunities for the Mayhem to cut their deficit in half. Billett would later rob Derek Sutliffe, who dangled his way through the Pensacola defense but was denied by the goaltender’s stick.
The Ice Flyers added to their lead 14:41 into the second period when a fluky deflection set up Moore wide open in the left circle. Moore buried his second goal of the game. Four minutes later, Alexander Taulien was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct penalty for a hit to the head after he leveled Robert Lepine along the half boards. The hit sparked a fight between Taulien and Ryan Devine, which ended fairly quickly as the linesmen jumped in almost immediately.
Sean Reynolds created a terrific opportunity to put the Mayhem on the score sheet in the closing stanza, but was denied by Billett on a partial breakaway. In an effort to spark his team, Seth Ronsberg dropped the gloves with Devine, who had gotten into his second fight of the game. Unfortunately for Macon, Ronsberg’s efforts were futile as the Mayhem could not find a chink in Billett’s armor, falling 3-0.
The Mayhem will visit Taxslayer Arena in Moline, Illinois next Friday, February 15th to take on the Quad City Storm for the first time this season. Puck drop is set for 8:10 pm EST.
Photo and column credit: Macon Mayhem