Preview: Mayhem vs. Huntsville Havoc (Game 36)

Mayhem Dominate on Pack the Plex Night
In front of their largest crowd in franchise history on Saturday night (5,619), the Mayhem cruised to their largest margin of victory of the season, drubbing the Knoxville Ice Bears by a 6-2 final score.

It was an enormous triumph for the Mayhem. With many of his players suffering from flu-like symptoms and his team on a four-game losing skid, Ryan Michel was happy to receive any sort of second wind available. He and several players noted that the atmosphere at the Macon Centreplex truly helped the team perform at peak capacity, and that they felt “unstoppable” on the ice because of the energy generated by the crowd.

Michel believes that the night inspired the confidence the Mayhem needed, and that it demonstrated what the team is capable of when taking its opponents’ strengths away from them.

The Matchup
One week ago, the Mayhem were defeated by tonight’s adversary, the Huntsville Havoc, by a 4-2 final score. Despite trailing from the 20-second mark on, Macon hung in the contest all night and came close to erasing their deficit twice. An empty-net goal scored by the visitors in the closing seconds quelled Macon’s comeback efforts.

The defending champs rank in the top half of the SPHL in virtually every category. They often dominate their opponents in controlling shots on goal, leading the league in shots per game (36.3) and trailing only Pensacola in shots allowed per game (27.8). They also boast a top-three power play (19.1%) and penalty kill (84.6%), and are coming off back-to-back wins over the Mayhem and the Fayetteville Marksmen last weekend.

Taking advantage of momentum and home ice will be essential tonight for the Mayhem, who will embark on a five-game road stretch after this evening.

Stiliadis to Debut
Goaltender Michael Stiliadis will dress tonight for the Mayhem wearing the #35. The Woodbridge, ON native has boasted impressive numbers in the high-scoring FPHL this season, playing in 17 games with the Watertown Wolves (3.08 GAA, .924 SV%) and 10 with the Elmira Enforcers (3.13 GAA, .926 SV%). Stiliadis (6’0, 170) also played in five games for the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs to start the season, but did not earn a win despite several strong performances.

Stiliadis’ likelihood to play tonight will be closely tied to Hayden Stewart’s status, who has felt under the weather for the past couple of weeks. Regardless, expect Stiliadis to see at least some ice time during the Mayhem’s three-game weekend.

Mardi Gras Night
Tonight, the Mayhem will put a Macon spin on Mardi Gras. Fans are asked to bring their Cajun spirit for a chance to collect beads and doubloons. It will also be a Texas Roadhouse Family 4-Pack Night, the second to last this season. For tickets, click here.