Preview: Mayhem vs. Knoxville Ice Bears (Game 9)

Zero to Sixty
The Mayhem got off to an incredible start last Saturday night. They were utterly dominant in the first 20 minutes of play, outshooting the top-ranked team in the SPHL 22-7 in the opening period. Unfortunately, their early control of the game went unrewarded, as all 22 of Macon’s first period shots were denied by Peoria goaltender Jeremy Brodeur. His stellar performance in net allowed the Rivermen to stay in the game, and the reigning Coffey Trophy champs used it to their advantage.

The second period was evenly played, with both teams striking twice and registering ten shots on goal. However, the visitors took over in the closing stanza, tallying three unanswered goals and skating to a 5-2 triumph. Closing out games and playing a full sixty minutes are things which Mayhem Head Coach Leo Thomas has expressed as being issues which have plagued the team in the early going. Tonight presents another opportunity for the Mayhem to log a complete tilt from start to finish, and to make up some lost ground in the standings.

The Matchup
For the first time since the 2019 Playoffs, the Knoxville Ice Bears pay a visit to the Macon Centreplex. Setting aside the obvious elements of this rivalry like the myriad of former Ice Bears on Macon’s roster and the postseason series back in April, the Mayhem are looking at this game as a way to redeem themselves by cooling off another hot team. Knoxville enters the contest with a record of 4-2-1, having won three of its last four outings and taking at least a point in four straight. The Ice Bears have been in every contest, having not lost a game by more than a goal yet this season.

Macon had the edge in the head-to-head series last year, boasting a solid record of 5-1-1 against Knoxville through seven regular season games. However, the Ice Bears have shored up their scoring depth this season and have received strong contributions from rookies like SPHL leading scorer Marly Quince and St. Norbert College standout Riley Christensen. The top penalty kill in the league has also seemingly not lost a step from last season, succeeding on 92.6% of shorthanded opportunities thus far.

Former Flames
There are five players on Macon’s roster tonight who have ties to the Knoxville Ice Bears. Danny Cesarz played four seasons there and was an alternate captain during his last year, Marcus Ortiz played there for two seasons and has a house there, Josh Cousineau began his professional career there and won a President’s Cup there in 2015, Ben Campbell started this season there, and Cody Porter played ten games there during the 2018-19 campaign. With over a quarter of the Mayhem suiting up for tonight’s contest having played for the Ice Bears in the past, expect another hostile and hard-fought tilt at the Macon Centreplex.

Whitey Tighty Toss
Tonight is the team’s first Whitey Tighty Toss in franchise history. The Mayhem are encouraging fans to bring in new, packaged cold weather clothing like underwear, socks, gloves and scarves to the game and to throw them onto the ice after the Mayhem score their first goal. All products will benefit Daybreak – Project Depaul, a local charity which provides assistance to the homeless and less fortunate.  There are four more home dates in the month of November, including 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 home games, click here.