Preview: Mayhem vs. Huntsville Havoc (Game 2)

Missed Opportunities
Missed opportunities were the tale of the tape last night in a game in which the Mayhem easily could have pulled ahead by a large margin. Credit has to be given to Fayetteville’s goaltender, Danny Tirone, who denied 39 of Macon’s 41 shots and turned aside what looked to be sure goals. Jimmy Soper nearly tied a franchise record with 11 shots on net, several of which would have been goals on most nights. Stephen Pierog hit the inside of the right post, Stepan Timofeev was denied on a penalty shot, and Josh Koepplinger was stoned cold on a 3-on-0 rush. Last night’s modest score-line was not reflective of the way the game was played, and the Mayhem will look to use tonight’s outing against Huntsville to redeem themselves.

The Matchup
The Huntsville Havoc enter the Centreplex tonight, hoping to remain undefeated as they wrap up their road trip. They defeated the Birmingham Bulls in Pelham last night by a 3-2 decision in overtime, with defenseman Nolan Kaiser scoring the game-winning goal in overtime on a 4-on-3 power play.

Last season, the Mayhem fared quite well against the defending champs on home ice, taking two of three games against Glenn DeTulleo’s squad. The Huntsville roster looks virtually the same as it has for years, with the same core of veterans who have been responsible for their sustained success returning for another campaign. Just like the Marksmen, the Havoc had one of the league’s best power plays last year and that does not appear to be changing anytime soon based on yesterday’s result. Huntsville scored all three of its goals on the man-advantage, going 3-for-9 on the night against Birmingham. The Mayhem struggled greatly yesterday staying out of the penalty box, and the lopsided share of power play opportunities (Fayetteville’s 7 to Macon’s 2) did not do the Mayhem any favors. Discipline will be crucial in tonight’s matchup.

Rising Stars on the Right
Darius Davidson was one of the last players to join the Mayhem training camp, and it did not take him long to prove his skill and earn a spot on the roster. Leo Thomas and Ryan Michel have been so impressed by his abilities that he was placed on Macon’s top line with Stephen Pierog and Stathis Soumelidis to start the season. The Vancouver native is just 23 years old and played junior hockey with Nick Minerva on the Surrey Eagles (BCHL) during the Mayhem’s championship season.

Stepan Timofeev displayed his hands and his speed yesterday, as well. He nearly put the Mayhem back in front late in the third period on a breakaway, and he earned the team’s first penalty shot since January of 2018. Davidson and Timofeev are both young players who are filling large voids left behind at the right wing position, with the absence of Jake Trask and Dakota Klecha. The two of them will have their hands full again tonight against a very seasoned Huntsville group.
Zombieland Night
Yesterday was the release of Zombieland: Double Tap in theatres everywhere. The movie was filmed in Macon, and the Mayhem have taken it upon themselves to host a Zombieland theme night! There will be a Snoball eating contest during the first period, and the winner will earn a box of Twinkies. There will also be a cardio challenge during the first intermission. For tickets to tonight’s contest, click here.