Preview: Mayhem vs. Birmingham Bulls (Game 10)

A Happy Medium
Yesterday’s outing was almost an exact opposite of what happened last Saturday. Rather than getting off to a red-hot start and running out of gas by the end of the game, the Mayhem were caught flat-footed in the first period and finished the game strong. Unfortunately, their valiant attempt at a comeback fell just short as the visiting Knoxville Ice Bears held onto the lead they had built up from the first period and secured a 4-3 win.

Kevin Entmaa’s surprise return to the crease was indeed a boost to the team’s confidence, but the Adrian College grad faced far too many point-blank shots on goal and rebound chances in the opening 20 minutes. Knoxville’s four first period goals tied the total amount of first period goals the Mayhem had allowed in the entire season combined, and tied a franchise record for the most goals allowed in a single stanza. Yet, the team again showed its resilience and proved once more that it does not give up on games. It is a commendable and essential trait for a winning culture, but the Mayhem are still in search of the middle ground between last Saturday’s showing and yesterday’s.

The Matchup
The Birmingham Bulls are the only team the Mayhem have defeated by more than a goal thus far. They played arguably their best game of the season against Jamey Hicks and company three weeks ago, ousting the President’s Cup runners up by a 4-1 final. Entmaa played his best game since joining the Mayhem, stopping 35 of 36 shots and helping his team go 6-for-6 on the penalty kill.

It is a near-identical situation to the October 26th game. The Birmingham Bulls are well-rested, having had off last night and playing only one road tilt on the weekend. Last weekend, the Bulls dropped back-to-back decisions in a home-and-home series with the Pensacola Ice Flyers. They are hungry for points just as the Mayhem are, and will be seeking vengeance against a Mayhem squad looking for its first win of November. The Bulls also possess a remarkable penalty kill, especially on the road. They remain the only team in the SPHL to have not allowed a power play goal in an away game so far, going 10-for-10 in three games played. The Mayhem power play looked sharp last night, but it will have face another challenging PK unit this evening.

Russian on the Rise
Stepan Timofeev has made a name for himself in Macon over the past two weeks. His willingness to stand up for himself against a much larger and much more experienced player in Eric Levine last weekend won over the hearts of many Mayhem fans. He revealed his plans to become an American citizen at the Line Change show last Tuesday night, which was met with a sincere round of applause from the audience. Last night, the St. Petersburg native generated an even larger ovation when he scored his first goal with the Mayhem. The goal also launched the whitey tighty toss, which resulted in over a thousand garments of clothing like underwear, socks, gloves, scarves, etc. being launched onto the ice and donated to Daybreak – Project DePaul. Timofeev followed it up with another strike just 29 seconds into the second period, and played a huge role in the Mayhem’s comeback efforts.

Cancer Awareness Night
Tonight is Cancer Awareness Night at the Macon Centreplex. The Mayhem will be honoring those who have survived, are battling, or have lost the battle to cancer. Remaining November home games include 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.