Preview: Mayhem vs. Pensacola Ice Flyers (Game 25)

Mayhem Shut Out in Knoxville
Despite generating ample odd-man rushes and overall scoring opportunities, the Mayhem could not find the net in their final installment of a four-game road stretch. Ice Bears goaltender Joseph Murdaca flourished in his return from the ECHL’s Adirondack Thunder, stopping all 26 shots Macon sent his way.

The penalty kill had a busy night, and it again looked sharp. The Mayhem fought off all six Knoxville power plays they faced, and the Ice Bears’ man-advantage ranked second in the SPHL heading into that game. Four-on-four play was extremely frequent, with over three minutes of game time being spent with four skaters a side. Remarkably, none of that time with extra ice or the power plays yielded a goal for either side. Ultimately, the Mayhem fell by a 2-0 final to prolong their road woes. However, they look to extend a positive streak tonight, searching for a franchise-high fifth home win in a row.

The Matchup
Macon has played the Pensacola Ice Flyers fairly well this season, but they have not managed to take a point in the head-to-head series. They’ve dropped all three decisions to Rod Aldoff’s squad in regulation, losing the most recent two tilts by a 4-2 score with empty-netters tallied at the end. Outside of the Evansville Thunderbolts, the Flyers have been arguably the SPHL’s most-improved team this season, as they currently sit tied for second in the league standings with the Fayetteville Marksmen.

Pensacola has won its last three games in a row, and was one of just two teams to not play on New Year’s Eve this past Tuesday. Their 5-on-5 play has been dominant all season, and they have allowed the fewest goals against (49) of any team in the league. Yet, for all their cunning, the Ice Flyers have looked far more fallible on the road (6-3-1) than they have at home (9-1-1) this season, with a substantially less daunting record in games played away from The Hangar. At the onset of this home-and-home stint, the Mayhem have a crucial chance to extend an impressive home winning streak to five games.

Roster Updates
Injuries, call-ups, and illnesses have plagued the Mayhem lineup of late. As such, multiple roster changes have been made this week in order to fill important roles.

With the call-up to Jimmy Soper and the injuries to Caleb Cameron and Danny Cesarz, the Mayhem forward corps has been severely diminished. Thus, Michael Chemello has been called upon from the Columbus River Dragons of the Federal Prospects Hockey League. The Toronto native has been a point-per-game player in Columbus this season, notching 12 points (5G, 7A) in as many games played. Chemello (#92) displayed high-end speed and offensive instincts during Macon’s pre-season game in Birmingham back in October, and will add scoring depth to the lineup.

Hayden Stewart was also signed this morning to fill the void left by the waiving of Cody Porter. Stewart will have an opportunity to make his Mayhem debut this weekend, wearing the #39.
Fan Control Night
Tonight is Fan Control Night at the Macon Centreplex. Polls have been run on social media for fans to decide things like music, intermission games, jerseys worn during the game, and more! For tickets to tonight’s contest, click here.