Preview: Mayhem @ Pensacola Ice Flyers (Game 26)

Mayhem Break Franchise Record
Yesterday’s performance by the Mayhem sparked a ray of hope for a team which has not had many things go its way this season. Macon had just dropped four straight road games and had lost much of the momentum it had previously gained after winning four in a row at the Macon Centreplex. Additionally, injuries worsened, illnesses struck, and the team’s depth was being depleted. Yet, with all of these factors working against them, the Mayhem managed to pull off a 3-2 regulation victory against the second-ranked team in the SPHL in front of the largest home crowd of the season, and break a franchise record by winning five straight on home ice.

While all of the goal-scoring took part within a five-minute span in the second period, credit has to be given to the way the Mayhem hunkered down in the final 20 minutes to secure the victory. Third periods have been an issue for Macon this season, but the team bought in and fully committed to protecting their lead. Furthermore, they did not appear to be outskated or outplayed as the game wore on. The Mayhem have started 2020 off the right way and certainly made a statement on Friday night. Tonight, a Herculean challenge awaits them as they head to the Pensacola Bay Center for a rematch with the Ice Flyers to conclude the home-and-home series.

The Matchup
The Ice Flyers have been nearly unbeatable on home ice this season, with a remarkable record of 9-1-1 at The Hangar. Meanwhile, Macon is still searching for its first win on the road. As impressive as yesterday’s triumph was, playing in Pensacola tonight will be an entirely different animal.

Pensacola has out-shot its opponents in 10 of 11 games at home this season. While shots on goal don’t always tell the complete story, it is worth noting that the Ice Flyers lead the league in average shots per game (35.2) and shots allowed per game (26.1). Other defensive categories like the penalty kill and goals allowed have also been strengths for them this season. Ryan Michel has described the Ice Flyers as a team which makes its opponents earn every scoring opportunity, making it paramount that the Mayhem capitalize when they have the chance. Defeating the Flyers yesterday, and scoring three goals within a five-minute span, will undoubtedly serve as a confidence boost for the Mayhem heading into this tilt.

Winning yesterday’s game in Macon made a statement. Winning tonight’s game in Pensacola would make an exclamation.

Defensemen Lead the Way
With the absence of several critical players at the forward position last night (Caleb Cameron, Danny Cesarz, Jimmy Soper, Stathis Soumelidis,) the Mayhem turned to their defensemen for leadership. The blue line provided exactly that, with four of Macon’s six defensemen finding the scoresheet yesterday. Jarret Kup, Larry Smith and Ben Campbell each tallied assists, while Zach Urban netted the game-winning goal late in the second period. Smith and Urban were also promoted to Alternate Captains at the onset of last night’s game, as each of them wore an ‘A’ on their sweaters for the first time this season.
90’s Night / Marvel Super Hero™ Night
Next weekend the Mayhem will host the Fayetteville Marksmen on 90’s Night and Marvel Super Hero™ Night on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Denim, novelty candies, and more will be in store on Friday night, and specialty jerseys will be worn on Saturday. The jerseys will be sold at a live auction in the Centreplex lobby following the game. For tickets to either contest, click here.