Columbus Cottonmouths

Offensive woes continue for Snakes in loss to Mayhem

Macon used five unanswered goals to defeat the Columbus Cottonmouths 5-1 on Friday night at the Columbus Civic Center.

With the win, Macon moved to within one point of Columbus in the SPHL standings. Macon (11-15-3) has 25 points, while Columbus (10-12-6) has 26.

Averaging less than 2½ goals per game, Columbus once again found scoring at a premium Friday, scoring fewer than two goals for the fourth straight game while extending their losing streak to four.

The Mayhem have now taken four of the six meetings against the Cottonmouths.

Columbus' Andy Bathgate scored the opening goal 1:27 into the contest, nabbing his third goal of the year on a deflection off the post to give the Snakes the early 1-0 lead.

Registering its first shot on goal at the 6:41 mark, Macon made the most of its scoring opportunities scoring two goals on its first three shot attempts, one by Matt Robertson in addition to a power-play goal by Jake Trask.

"We had a couple of missed opportunities early where we had our chances to get the puck in net," Columbus

coach Jerome Bechard said. "The effort was there, we just couldn't kill any penalties tonight and that hurt us in the end."

In the second period, the Mayhem scored two additional goals, including another power-play goal, this time by Macon's leading goal scorer Shawn Skelly. In all, Macon went 2-for-4 on the power play.

Macon's Joshua Ranalli notched an unassisted goal in the third, the fifth and final goal of the night for the Mayhem.

In his first home start since Dec. 27, Brandon Jaeger blocked 20 of the 25 shots on goal.

Friday's loss marks the first loss in regulation for Jaeger since Dec. 8.

His counterpart, Garrett Bartus, picked up the win by turning away 50 of 51 shots and has now gotten the better of Columbus in four out of six games this season.

"When you shoot the puck on net, good things tend to happen, they had a couple of bounces go their way, but tonight's loss doesn't feel like a 5-1 hockey game," Bechard said. "Macon is a good working hockey team, they keep things simple, and Bartus is one of the better goalies in this league."

Columbus closes out the weekend tonight in Knoxville with the Ice Bears.

Snakes return home next weekend for back-to-back meetings on Friday and Saturday night against the first place Peoria Rivermen. It will be the first meeting between the two teams since their Dec. 19 clash that ended with two players being suspended along with Bechard.

Friday at Columbus Civic Center

Macon 2 2 1--5

Columbus 1 0 0--1

First period--1, Columbus, Bathgate (Rial, Freeman) 1:27; 2, Macon, Robertson (Michel, Grasso) 6:41; 3, Macon, PP-Trask (Michel, Skelly); Penalties--Pierog, Macon (Slashing) 3:29; Graves, Columbus (Too Many Men) 7:17; Graves, Columbus (Tripping) 12:51; Jackson, Columbus (Tripping) 17:28.

Second period--4, Macon, PP-Skelly (Trask, Ranalli) 13:08; 5, Macon, LaBelle (unassisted) 13:41; Penalties--Lennartsson, Macon (Tripping) 7:13; Belisle, Columbus (Clipping) 11:24;

Third period--6, Macon, Ranalli (unassisted) 4:54; Penalties-None.

Shots on goal: Macon 10-12-3; Columbus 20-15-16

Power plays: Macon 2 of 4; Columbus 0 of 2

Goaltenders: Macon, Bartus (win) 60:00 19 15 16; Columbus, Jaeger (loss) 60:00 8 10 2

Referee: Lucas Martin. Linesman: D'Loughy, Kuerston

Time: 2:14

Attendance: 3,912