Preview: Mayhem vs. Pensacola Ice Flyers (Game 44)

Tip of the Cap
Things did not go Macon’s way last Saturday night in a critical game against the Birmingham Bulls. They fell behind 3-0 within seven minutes, which prompted Ryan Michel to make a goaltending change and call his timeout. Though the Mayhem played much better from that moment on, they could not fully erase the deficit which had accumulated so early.

Puck luck was not on the Mayhem’s side. On numerous occasions, they were robbed by miraculous saves from Artt Brey on the goal line. They also hit several posts and crossbars repeatedly, even seeing one of their shots ring off the inside of both posts before ricocheting out. At the end of the night, the shots favored Macon 40-22, and yet they lost by a 5-2 final score. Outcomes like this—as rare as they are—happen from time to time. Perhaps what is most unfortunate is that it occurred against an opponent with whom they are in close contention for one of the final playoff spots. Regardless, they will have to move forward and focus their attention on tonight’s opponents, the Pensacola Ice Flyers.

The Matchup
Pensacola has been on an unexpected slump of late, but they finally managed to snap their losing skid on Saturday night in Huntsville. They defeated the Havoc by a 5-4 score in regulation, ending a winless streak which had lasted seven games. In every one of the Ice Flyers’ last eight games, the result has been decided by a single goal.

Against Macon this season, Rod Aldoff and company have managed a head-to-head record of 4-1-2. The Ice Flyers took the first three matchups of the season, but the Mayhem have won three of the last four. Just a week and a half ago, Macon took all four points available in a weekend series at The Hangar for the first time in over four years. Both games went to overtime, with Caleb Cameron netting both game-winning-goals and earning recognition as the SPHL Player of the Week.

The Mayhem remain within two points of a playoff spot, and are now in a position in which they cannot afford to let any more home points slip away. Tonight’s contest, while being a make-up game on a Tuesday night, is extremely important.

Denomme Not Pulling Punches
When he first returned to Macon shortly after the New Year, Dylan Denomme served primarily as a skill player. He had played in 12 games before registering so much as a single penalty. Now, in his last two games alone, he has amassed 12 penalty minutes and has dropped the gloves twice. The first resulted from a heavy open-ice hit Denomme delivered on Fayetteville’s Tim Kielich, which provoked Nigel Slade to fight him on the spot. Saturday’s scrap was more arranged, as he and Russell Jordan, an experienced fighter, agreed to have a go after the Mayhem had fallen behind 2-0 quickly. In both cases, the Mayhem Alternate Captain got the better of his opponent and proved he can provide considerable grit to the team, in addition to skill.

College Night
Tonight is the make-up game resulting from a boards issue which occurred on January 30th, 2020. The same promotion for college students remains; those who present a valid college ID at the box office will receive tickets for just $10. All who had tickets to the game on January 30th will be allowed entry to the arena, free of charge. Parking at the arena tonight will also be free for everybody.

As per SPHL rules, the game will restart at 0-0 as a full 60-minute game, even though Pensacola had a 1-0 lead with 13:46 remaining in the first period at the time of the incident.