Preview: Mayhem vs. Peoria Rivermen (Game 8)

Rivermen Break Longstanding Penalty Record
A total of 110 penalty minutes were assessed by the end of last night’s game against the Peoria Rivermen. It was the second-most combined total in a single game in Mayhem franchise history. The Rivermen accounted for 63 of those PIMs, which shatters the previous record of 60 as the most penalty minutes ever called against the Mayhem in a single game (12/16/17 vs. Fayetteville).

All things considered, the Mayhem did fairly well at keeping a cool head throughout the night. The visitors were penalized far more often, and received more misconducts and game ejections. Yet, oddly enough, it was the Rivermen who capitalized off of the multitude of penalties called throughout the night, as four of their five goals came on special teams. Peoria scored twice on the power play and twice while shorthanded, burying the Mayhem with an insurmountable four-goal deficit heading into the final period. However, the Mayhem never quit on the result, chipping away at the lead until time expired. They also stayed out of the sin bin completely in the closing stanza. Yesterday’s third period is likely one they will try to replicate tonight.

The Matchup
Tonight marks the fourth and final consecutive game in which the Mayhem will face the Rivermen, who have frankly been their kryptonite during the Leo Thomas head coaching era. Peoria remains the only SPHL team outside of the Quad City Storm (0-0-1) which Thomas has yet to defeat in his tenure as the Mayhem Head Coach. The second-year bench boss seeks his 30th win tonight, which would bring his team back up to the .500 mark in the standings.

Both teams will likely be missing some key players for tonight’s game due to all of the misconducts and ejections which occurred yesterday. Normally, in extensive series between bitter rivals such as these, the final game tends to be the most hostile. However, given how shorthanded both sides will be and how increasingly valuable the players on their dwindling benches have become, it is fair to expect a more disciplined effort on both fronts in tonight’s tilt. Nevertheless, the severity of this rivalry alone combined with the duration of this series is enough to warrant another highly scrappy affair.

Big Game Hunter
Fans have been eager for rookie defenseman Rene Hunter to have his breakout game in which he put his skillset on full display. Doubtless, yesterday was that day. The Ebb and Flow, MB native demonstrated his keen hockey instincts, his stickhandling acuity, and his shooting accuracy last night, and was rewarded for it all with his first professional goal 1:14 into the third period. Hunter has a heavy, precise shot, which he proved last night by rifling the puck through a screen and over Eric Levine from the top of the right circle. He also quarterbacked Macon’s top power play unit throughout the game, made a number of impressive breakout plays, and caused opposing fore-checkers to look silly with his puck skills. Hunter is certainly a raw player and is still making the adjustment to the professional level, but if last night was any indication, the 26-year-old defenseman has a great deal of upside to offer the Mayhem.

A November to Remember
The Mayhem have six home games remaining 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. The other November dates Macon Music Night (11/09), Cancer Awareness Night (11/16), Country Night (11/22), Mossy Oak Night (11/23) and W.W.E. Night (11/30). For tickets to any of November’s seven home games, click here.