LAST GAME’S ACTION: The Mayhem offense exploded as they doubled up Knoxville 6-3, spoiling the Ice Bears’ home opener on January 8. After a Knoxville goal early in the first period, Brian Bowen knotted the game up for Macon with his first of three goals on the night. The Ice Bears reclaimed the lead later in the period, but Gabe Guertler opened up the barrage, scoring the first of four unanswered Macon goals. Jared Bethune and Ryan Smith also lit the lamp once each, with Bowen scoring as well, including an empty-netter to secure the first hat trick in the SPHL this season. Bowen added an assist, while Dean Balsamo had four assists on the night to tie Bowen with a four-point night of his own. Jake Theut picked up the win between the pipes for Macon, stopping 22 of 25 shots on goal. Hayden Stewart took the loss in net for Knoxville with 30 saves on 35 shots. Macon was 0 for 2 on the power play while the Ice Bears were 1 for 3 on the man advantage.
20 DAYS; 480 HOURS; 28,800 MINUTES; BUT WHO’S COUNTING?: Tonight’s game marks the first competition in 20 days for the Mayhem. Since their win in Knoxville on January 8, their past five games have been postponed and/or rescheduled due to SPHL safety protocols. Two of those games have been rescheduled, with the Mayhem now playing in Pensacola on February 12 and in Knoxville on April 13. Macon’s three postponed home games have yet to be rescheduled but will be in the near future.
SPHL STANDINGS BY BIRD BOX: If you’re a Mayhem fan, you’re better off right now not looking at the current standings or stats. Since standings are based on total points earned and not winning percentage, Macon sits in last place in the league with five points; however, they are only one point behind fourth-place Knoxville, so a win tonight could get the Mayhem out of the theoretical basement. However, Macon currently sports the best winning percentage in the league at .625 and has at least three games in hand on every team in the league, including playing five fewer games than current first-place Huntsville while only five points behind the Havoc. One Mayhem player still ranks among the league leaders, however. Goaltender Jake Theut currently ranks second in the league in goals-against average, sporting a 2.31 GAA. He trails only the Ice Bears’ Jeremy Brodeur, who has a spotless 0.00 GAA courtesy of the SPHL’s first and only shutout to date in the only game he played this season at Macon on January 3. Brodeur is currently with the Binghamton Devils in the American Hockey League, the affiliate of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, the team with which Jeremy’s father, goalie Martin Brodeur, spent his Hall of Fame career.
E IS FOR EXTRA HOCKEY: Several players during the down time have kept on the ice by being loaned to teams in the ECHL. Since the Mayhem’s last game, four players – forwards Dean Balsamo and Ryan Smith and defensemen Paul Meyer and Nick Minerva – have seen action in the ECHL, with Balsamo, Minerva, and Smith in Tulsa and Meyer in South Carolina. The trio in Tulsa joined forward Alex Kromm, who played in the Mayhem’s first game of the season on December 28 but was loaned to the Oilers two days later. Meyer remains with the Stingrays currently, while Minerva is still in Tulsa; Balsamo and Smith have rejoined the Mayhem and will skate with the team tonight.