Preview: Mayhem vs. Quad City Storm (Game 17)

97-Second Skid
The Mayhem responded in a big way last Saturday night after dropping a dismal result in Evansville the night prior. They jumped out to a 2-1 advantage over the red-hot Fayetteville Marksmen at the end of the first period, and were the better team for the majority of the night. A non-goal from a shorthanded chance by Jimmy Soper is what ultimately changed the momentum of the game.

Soper hit the left elbow of the net with a point-blank shot, leading most of the Macon Centreplex to believe that the Mayhem had just scored their first shorthanded goal of the season and that the team had taken an insurance lead. However, the referee gave the washout signal immediately, and the Marksmen scored an equalizing goal just seconds later. Within 97 seconds of ensuing game time, the visitors had suddenly accumulated a 4-2 lead. It was a blunder through which Coach Ryan Michel stated that the team needed to be mentally stronger, and that the result of the game would have been very different had that been the case.

The Matchup
Tonight marks the Quad City Storm’s first-ever visit to the Macon Centreplex. These two teams faced only once last year at the TaxSlayer Center in Moline, IL, where the Strom eked out a 3-2 overtime triumph over the Mayhem.

Quad City sits a meager three points ahead of the Mayhem in the standings, providing them with an opportunity to climb the SPHL leaderboards and pull themselves out of the cellar. Doing so will not be easy, as the Storm have been described by Coach Michel as a team which works hard all over the ice for sixty minutes. Former Mayhem winger Dakota Klecha makes his first return to the Macon Centreplex, as well. The SPHL veteran has found success in his new home, ranking fourth on the Storm in scoring this season with 8 points (6G, 2A) and leading the team with 34 penalty minutes. Quad City has dropped seven straight games, most of which were decided by a single goal. Expect a very hungry and hardworking opponent tonight at the Macon Centreplex.

A Surging Power Play
The Mayhem have quickly and quietly gone on a power play tear in recent games. They have converted on four of their last six opportunities with the man-advantage, which is a streak unlike any seen in Macon for years. In a single weekend, the Mayhem power play jumped from the single digits to a 14.5% success rate, which ties the Huntsville Havoc power play for seventh in the league. Danny Cesarz, in particular, has been a strong catalyst to Macon’s recent spark on the man-advantage. The speedy right-winger tallied two goals and a primary assist on the power play last weekend. Perhaps Vojtech Zemlicka, an offensive-minded defenseman who debuts for the Mayhem tonight, can help to keep the hot streak rolling, as well.

The Grinch Night
Tonight marks the second of a five-game home stand at the Macon Centreplex. The Grinch will be in the arena interacting with kids and taunting fans throughout the night. Tomorrow’s game will be the Mayhem’s fourth annual Teddy Bear Toss Night, along with Peanuts Night. Be sure to bring plush stuffed animals and throw them onto the ice after the Mayhem score their first goal. All products will be donated to local children’s hospitals. There will also be a post-game live auction for the Peanuts jerseys, which the Mayhem will wear during Saturday’s game. For tickets to any of December’s remaining home games, click here.