Preview: Mayhem @ Huntsville Havoc (Game 23)

Weary Warriors
Playing three games in three cities in three nights is never an easy task, especially when one considers how top-heavy Macon’s home schedule has been this season. Shifting from a five-game home stand to a road stretch like the one they are on is no simple feat, and yesterday’s matchup against the Birmingham Bulls did not end well for the Mayhem.

In both games of their road trip thus far, Macon has scored the first goal of the game and gotten off to a strong start. However, they have not been able to build upon or even maintain the quick leads they have jumped out to, and have struggled to keep pace with their opponents the longer the contests have worn on. On the season, the Mayhem have allowed more third period goals than any other team in the SPHL, and have conceded eight more goals in third periods (32) than they have in periods one and two (24). Last night in Pelham, the Mayhem were in a tight 1-1 tie until the Bulls racked up four goals within a 13-minute span, all of which came in the closing stanza.

Given the call-up of Jimmy Soper and the injuries to Caleb Cameron and Danny Cesarz, it is clear the team is fatigued and worn down at the moment. Tonight’s matchup against the defending champions provides the Mayhem with a tremendous opportunity to salvage two critical points from an extremely challenging road trip.

The Matchup
This is Macon’s first trip to Von Braun Center this season. The Huntsville Havoc are coming off a nail-biting 3-2 defeat against the Pensacola Ice Flyers in overtime last night, which ended a five-game Havoc winning streak. Glenn DeTulleo’s group has reasserted itself as one of the top teams in the SPHL after a relatively slow start to the season, and will be adamant about redeeming themselves not only from last night, but also from their only matchup against Macon over two months ago.

In the second game of the season, the Mayhem edged out a 2-1 victory over the Havoc. They allowed a near-immediate goal 11 seconds into the game following a fluky bounce off an official’s skate, but kept Huntsville off the score sheet for the rest of the game. The Mayhem will be playing shorthanded again tonight, and will be playing fatigued. However, they have already proven they can defeat the Havoc when battling a full sixty minutes, having played arguably their best game of the season from start-to-finish back on October 19th.

A Disciplined Effort
The Mayhem have made a concerted effort to remain disciplined on this road trip. They have only been shorthanded five times through two games played, which ties a season-low for back-to-back games. The team has seen a steady improvement in the discipline department in recent weeks, dropping one point in PIMs per game since December started. Huntsville’s man-advantage has been on a roll of late, clicking on a third of its opportunities (4-for-12) in the last three weeks. With the Mayhem needing all hands on deck, it goes without saying that the impressive discipline they have shown throughout this trip must continue this afternoon.

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.