Preview: Mayhem vs. Birmingham Bulls (Game 4)

The Overtime Curse
The Mayhem showed tremendous resilience last night by coming from behind on three separate occasions to tie the score. Unfortunately, an electrifying goal scored by Stathis Soumelidis in the closing seconds to force overtime was met by a disappointing end, as the Mayhem were defeated in the shootout for a fifth consecutive time.

The last time the Mayhem won a game in the shootout was on April 1st, 2017 against the Huntsville Havoc. Extra time in general has not been kind to the Mayhem, either, as the team dropped both decisions during the 2018-19 season (0-2 in OT, 0-3 in SO) and have already lost one in each category this season. In games which have required more than 60 minutes, Macon has dropped eight straight. While a one-point difference in the standings seems fairly insignificant at this point in the season, the value of those lost points will increase substantially as the campaign progresses. On a more positive note, by forcing overtime last night, the Mayhem have extended their point streak to three games and have secured four points of a possible six to start the season.

The Matchup
A rematch of the pre-season is on hand tonight as the Mayhem prepare to host the President’s Cup runners up, the Birmingham Bulls. Bulls Head Coach Jamey Hicks took the SPHL by storm last season, surpassing all expectations in his sophomore year and leading to the Bulls to a record-breaking campaign. Though his team lost several key pieces like Mavric Parks, Taylor Dickin, Justin Larson and others over the off-season, the additions he has brought in have made for a near seamless transition and appear to be primed to lead Birmingham to another deep run.

It is illusory to use the pre-season game as a means to measure the matchup between the Mayhem and the Bulls, as nearly a third of the roster used on that night has been overhauled by Leo Thomas. The head-to-head rivalry last season was fairly even, as the Mayhem logged a 2-2-0 record against Birmingham at the Macon Centreplex and dropped the only game they played in Pelham. Coach Thomas described the Bulls as being a top three team in the SPHL again this season. With the visitors being well-rested after having yesterday off, expect a high-energy contest tonight in Macon.

ImPerezive Debut
Yesterday’s tilt marked the debut of Mayhem forward Daniel Perez, who looked comfortable by the end of the first period and dominant by the end of the second. He scored a key goal and set up Marcus Ortiz with a brilliant no-look pass from behind the opposing net, making a solid Roanoke goaltender in Stephen Klein look clueless. The University of Maine graduate tallied five points (3G, 2A) in just four games at the end of last season with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits in the ECHL, and last night he demonstrated why that was no fluke. He was placed on Macon’s man-advantage immediately and scored the team’s lone power play goal of the night. Perez’s offensive prowess will be an enormous boost for the Mayhem.
Disco Night
Tonight is Disco Night at the Macon Centreplex. Fans are encouraged to wear tie-dye shirts to the game; those who do so will receive three free chuck-a-pucks from the chuck-a-puck just outside of the lobby. For tickets to tonight’s contest, click here.