Preview: Mayhem @ Peoria Rivermen (Game 5)

Macon Stays Near the Top
Last Saturday’s 4-1 victory over the Birmingham Bulls was a rewarding effort for a Mayhem team which had competed extremely hard in all three of its previous contests. They fell short in two heartbreaking defeats in extra time, so to secure a win by a three-goal margin against a tough opponent certainly felt satisfying.

Daniel Perez stayed hot, finding the back of the net with the game-winning goal and assisting on Jarret Kup’s long-range snipe. Marcus Ortiz tallied a pair of goals, as well, and continued to assert his physical dominance in the offensive zone. He and his linemates, Caleb Cameron and Jimmy Soper, were firing on all cylinders. Stephen Pierog’s playmaking prowess continued, as the Mayhem Captain collected two primary assists on the night. Finally, Kevin Entmaa was stellar in goal, stopping 35 of Birmingham’s 36 shots en route to third star of the game honors in what was probably his best game since joining the Mayhem. By the end of the four-game home stand to start the season, the Mayhem had taken 6 points of a possible 8. They currently sit tied with tonight’s opponents for second place in the SPHL.

The Matchup
One four-game stretch is over, another begins. Tonight, the Mayhem head into Peoria to take on the reigning William B. Coffey Trophy Champions, the Peoria Rivermen. The trophy is awarded to the team with the best regular-season record and has gone to Peoria in four of the past five seasons (Macon won it in 2017). Hardware aside, the Mayhem struggled mightily against the Rivermen during the 2018-19 season. They dropped all six contests in regulation. Three were at home, three were on the road. Tonight will be their first opportunity to reverse their fortunes in the head-to-head category against Peoria in 2019-20.

Not only do the Mayhem have a chance to start their head-to-head season on a better note against their opponents, they also have a chance to snap Peoria’s undefeated streak. The Rivermen have won all three of their games this season, defeating Quad City in their home opener in overtime and knocking off Evansville twice by a 4-2 score. Both of their Midwestern rivals have improved considerably, however, and all three games were tightly contested. Both times the Mayhem have faced top-three opponents from last season, (Huntsville, Birmingham) they have answered the call and played a complete 60-minute game, and were rewarded with regulation wins. They will need to do so again this weekend in Central Illinois.

League Leaders
Through four games this season, the Mayhem already have an abundance of players atop the SPHL leaderboards. Marcus Ortiz leads the league in goals (4), Stephen Pierog leads the league in points and assists (6), Kevin Entmaa leads the league in save percentage (.951), and Jarret Kup leads the league in plus/minus (+5). Just like last season, the Mayhem have gotten off to a hot start and have already knocked off two extremely formidable opponents. While facing Peoria four times in a row will be the team’s greatest challenge yet, cooling off the Mayhem will be an equally daunting task for the Rivermen.
7 in 11
The Mayhem will host a whopping seven home games in the month of November, including a newly changed date on November 15th against the Knoxville Ice Bears. This game will also be the team’s first Family 4-Pack night of the 2019-20 season. For tickets to any of November’s seven home games, click here.