Preview: Mayhem vs. Fayetteville Marksmen (Game 42)

Mayhem Finish Five-Game Road Trip
Road games have been a struggle for the Mayhem this season. Having such a front-loaded home schedule, Ryan Michel knew his team needed to turn things around during its five-game stretch away from the Macon Centreplex. Though they fell yesterday morning by a narrow margin in Fayetteville, the Mayhem still managed to win three of their five road games, with the Marksmen being the only team to defeat them over that span.

Things have been taking a positive turn for the Mayhem of late. They won their first regulation road game two weeks ago in Roanoke, took all four points in Pensacola last weekend, and have gradually improved against the Marksmen at Crown Coliseum. Yesterday morning, the Mayhem played their best game in Fayetteville this season, falling by a 4-3 final score. They held a one-goal lead entering the third period, but a pair of crucial mistakes ultimately cost them from obtaining any points from the contest. Still, the team has made substantial strides in the right direction and has become increasingly more difficult for the Marksmen to defeat.

The Matchup
Fayetteville has triumphed in all seven head-to-head matchups against Macon this season. Before the 2019-20 campaign started, the Marksmen had dropped ten straight games played at the Macon Centreplex, dating all the way back to February of 2017. Now, they remain just one of two teams the Mayhem have not defeated at home this season (Peoria). Tonight will be Macon’s last chance to defend its home ice against the Marksmen.

Jesse Kallechy’s squad has had such remarkable success against the Mayhem this season in large part due to the prolific production of its top players. Fayetteville Captain Max Cook and SPHL leading goal-scorer Brian Bowen have each registered 12 points (7G, 5A) in just 7 games played against the Mayhem. With Alec Marsh being called up to the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays earlier this week, the third component of this big line is out of commission. Even so, Taylor McCloy filled the role nicely yesterday, scoring twice including the game-winning-goal. Finding a way to shut down this unit tonight will be essential for the Mayhem.

Jones, Ylitalo to Debut
Defenseman Cooper Jones and forward Eric Ylitalo will both be in the lineup tonight. They will each be making their Mayhem debuts, with Jones wearing #8 and Ylitalo sporting #40. Jones has been a productive player from the blue line this season, scoring 16 points (3G, 13A) in 38 games played, which leads all Mayhem defensemen. Ylitalo possesses an imposing 6’3, 195 pound frame and a dozen games of ECHL experience under his belt. Coach Michel is confident in their abilities to help the team down the stretch as it fights for a playoff spot. He has assured that they will both have ample opportunity to showcase their abilities on home ice this weekend.

Macon Mistakes Night / Pucks N’ Paws
Tonight’s game has been dubbed Macon Mistakes Night, and tomorrow’s will be the team’s annual Pucks N’ Paws Night. All dogs are welcome at the Macon Centreplex tomorrow night, and registration for our wiener dog races is still available by clicking here.