Preview: Mayhem @ Peoria Rivermen (Game 6)

Peoria Reaches Historic Milestones
The Peoria Rivermen accomplished virtually everything they wanted to last night in defeating the Macon Mayhem. Jeremy Brodeur earned his first professional shutout, Jean-Guy Trudel tied for the franchise record with his 233rd win as a Head Coach, and the team got off to a 4-0-0 start for the first time since 1991 when they were in the IHL.

Both teams had dominant stretches of play throughout the tilt. The Mayhem fired an impressive 36 shots on goal, by far the most they’ve managed against this opponent in several years. However, few of those shot attempts were truly high-end scoring chances, and those that were did not solve the strong net-minding of Jeremy Brodeur. Though Peoria’s shots were fewer at just 30, many of their attempts came from more dangerous areas on the ice. Kevin Entmaa was forced to make several desperation stops just to keep his team within striking distance. Despite his best efforts in net, the Rivermen managed to best him twice and add an empty-net goal for a 3-0 triumph.

The Matchup
Games against the Rivermen have not been particularly low-scoring in recent years. The Mayhem were shut out five times all of last season, not one of which came against Peoria. The contest did not necessarily have the markings of a shutout, either, with both teams controlling the tempo for extended periods of time and Macon putting 36 shots on net by the end of the night. If Friday’s outing was any indication of what is to come tonight, expect to see a much higher-scoring game on hand in Central Illinois.

A huge overhaul was underway in Peoria over the off-season. The franchise lost multiple veterans and superstars who helped them reach another Coffey Trophy. The Rivermen lost both of their goaltenders, four of their top five scorers, half of their defense corps and the reigning SPHL scoring champion Ben Blasko. To fill the void, Trudel approached the issue the same way Leo Thomas did, by bringing proven SPHL veterans to his new team. The additions of Jordan Carvalho, Zach Nieminen and former Mayhem sniper Darren McCormick have already paid dividends and have helped to keep the team at the top of the SPHL leaderboards. It will be up to Thomas and his new squad to snap Peoria’s momentum and end their undefeated season before returning home for the next three weeks.

Cooler Heads Prevail
The rivalry and the heated hostilities between the Mayhem and the Rivermen are no secret. A four-game stretch between Macon and Peoria is the SPHL equivalent of setting a lit match beside a gasoline tank. In series such as these, the first game typically yields the fewest number of penalties. Both teams did an excellent job of staying disciplined and keeping their composure, with a total of just four penalty minutes handed to both sides until the last minute of the game. In the final 21 seconds, Josh Koepplinger, Cody Dion, and Skyler Smutek were all involved in a roughing altercation which led to two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and a total of ten penalty minutes. The longer this series wears on, the more incidents like this will arise. Avoiding too many careless penalties will be crucial for both teams tonight and next weekend.
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.