Preview: Mayhem vs. Pensacola Ice Flyers (Game 21)

Four Straight at Home
The Mayhem are currently on their longest winning streak of the season. They took the last four games of their five-game home stand, all of which were decided by a single goal. Last Saturday night’s victory over the Birmingham Bulls not only launched the Mayhem up to 7th place in the SPHL standings, it tied a franchise record for longest home-winning streak. It marked just the third time in franchise history the Mayhem had won four straight at home, the last of which occurred on November 10th of 2018.

Against the Bulls last Saturday, the Mayhem did well shutting down some of Birmingham’s big guns. Their Captain and leading scorer Josh Harris was held off the score sheet entirely, which has seldom happened this season (28% of games played). Kevin Entmaa was well-protected in goal and had strong support defensively all night. Overall, the Macon net-minder had another strong showing, turning away 30 of 32 shots and certainly earning his seventh win of the season. Tonight will be another challenging test for the Mayhem as they begin a road trip against a team which has dominated on its own ice all season.

The Matchup
The Pensacola Ice Flyers have turned The Hangar into a fortress this season. Through nine games played, Rod Aldoff’s squad boasts a home record of 7-1-1. Only the Peoria Rivermen have managed a more dominant home campaign thus far.

In spite of this daunting statistic, Pensacola has come across a bit of a cold spell in their rink of late. They had been 7-0-0 until they hosted the Huntsville Havoc three weeks ago and dropped an overtime decision by a 4-3 final. The defending champs edged the Ice Flyers this past Saturday, as well, defeating them 3-2 in regulation. Perhaps the Mayhem can capitalize on a team which is seemingly having its first hiccups on home ice all season. It would be an opportune time to snap a road losing skid, as the Mayhem have yet to win their first road game this season (0-4-0).

Macon’s last trip to the Pensacola Bay Center yielded a closer game than the 6-3 final score would indicate, as the Mayhem fought hard to erase a pair of deficits and were tied heading into the final period. However, the Flyers made a couple of outstanding plays to pull ahead with a late lead, and added an empty-net goal at the end to seal the deal.

Perez, Zemlicka Return
Mayhem left-winger Daniel Perez has missed Macon’s entire four-game winning streak, as he had returned home to New Jersey on family leave. The University of Maine graduate has had a strong start to his professional career, and is one of seven players on the Mayhem to have reached the double-digit plateau in points this season (14GP, 5G, 5A, 10P). Perez has good size and a tremendous shot, and his return will certainly be a lift to the team’s spirits as they commence an arduous road trip.

Defenseman Vojtech Zemlicka is also expected to return to action tonight, having missed the past week of games with an upper-body injury. The offensive-minded rearguard saw time on Macon’s power play in his first weekend with the team, and tallied an assist in his Mayhem debut.
Fan Control Night
The Mayhem’s next home game will be on Friday, January 3rd against the Pensacola Ice Flyers. It will be Fan Control Night at the Macon Centreplex; polls will be run on social media for fans to decide things like music, intermission games, jerseys worn during the game, and more! For tickets, click here.