Despite generating a strong start, the Mayhem were overcome on College Night by the Birmingham Bulls and were ousted by a 3-1 final.
In the fourth minute of play, Nick Owen was penalized for slashing. On the ensuing Macon power play, it appeared as though the Bulls’ penalty killers would fight it off. However, with just 13 seconds remaining on the man-advantage, Josh Koepplinger, who had been making his Mayhem debut, ripped a shot from the right circle. He buried his first professional goal with a snipe over Mavric Parks’ shoulder to give Macon a 1-0 advantage.
Macon’s penalty kill had been struggling of late, but they did well to keep Birmingham’s power play at bay. They successfully held off a formidable Birmingham power play and entered the first intermission with a 1-0 advantage.
Jacob Barber found a way to put Birmingham on the board 11:26 into the middle stanza. Matt Fuller had shoveled a backhand shot at the net, which Ian Sylves fought off with his glove. However, the loose puck bounced around the crease and was tucked into the net by Barber.
Just 1:06 after Barber’s goal, Birmingham achieved its first lead of the night. Fuller sent the puck to Justin Larson, who had been on a seven-game point streak. He put the puck onto his backhand and slipped it through Sylves’ five-hole, giving the Bulls a 2-1 edge.
The Mayhem fought through a pair of penalty kills in the third period, remaining a goal away from tying the score until the closing minutes. Garrett Schmitz put the final nail in Macon’s coffin 16:21 into the closing frame. The goal deflated the building’s energy and the Bulls managed to fend off a late 5-on-3 Mayhem power play.
Sylves was charged with his ninth defeat of the season, stopping 24 of Birmingham’s 27 shots on goal. Parks earned his league-leading 24th win, denying 36 of Macon’s 37 shots. The Mayhem will host the Fayetteville Marksmen on Princess Night tomorrow at the Macon Centreplex. Puck drops at 7:35 pm EST.
Article Credit: Macon Mayhem
Photo: Bryan Meeks