LAST GAME’S ACTION: Macon’s Jake Theut and Pensacola’s Chase Perry were the stars of the show in Saturday night’s game in Pensacola. Both made clutch save after save to keep their respective teams in the game. In the end, it came down to a shootout, one that saw Pensacola’s Darren McCormick score all four goals for the Ice Flyers to take the extra standing point and the 2-1 victory. Theut and Perry kept the scoreboard showing goose eggs on both sides until the 11:22 mark of the 3rd period with a Pensacola goal, then Stephen Pierog broke through with the game-tying marker with just 3:19 left in regulation. Theut made 39 of 40 saves in regulation and overtime, while Perry stopped 38 of 39 Macon shots on goal he faced. Both teams finished the game 0 for 3 on the power play.
HOME SWEET HOME: Tonight will be the first home game for the Mayhem in 33 days. They’ll be looking for their first win on home ice tonight as they went 0-1-1 during the home opening weekend. That includes a 3-0 loss to Knoxville in their last home game on January 3. Macon will host the same two teams they did during that opening weekend, as Birmingham comes calling tomorrow night. The Bulls defeated the Mayhem 3-2 in overtime in Macon’s home opener on January 2. Away from the Centreplex, the Mayhem currently sport a 3-0-1 record.
NEW FACES: The Mayhem will have several new faces seeing the home crowd for the first time tonight. The newest member of the team, defenseman Matt Stief, was signed only yesterday. Stief will be playing in his first professional game tonight after four years at Canisius College, serving as alternate captain for the team last year. He logged an even 60 points during his collegiate career with five goals and 55 assists and steadily picked up the scoring pace as he went – nine points as a freshman, 11 his sophomore season, 14 as a junior, and 26 points in his senior year. Defenseman Paul Meyer will also be skating in his first game with Macon tonight after signing with the team last month but being loaned to ECHL South Carolina soon after. Meyer scored a goal for the Stingrays in three games of action and also played in two games with Orlando in the ECHL prior to being signed by the Mayhem. Like Stief, Meyer is in his first professional season after a four-year collegiate stint at Colgate. At 6’4″, 215 pounds, Meyer will bring a big presence to the Macon blue line. On the other side of the spectrum, veterans Mason Baptista and Max Cook will also be playing in their first home games for the Mayhem after seeing their first action with Macon last week on the road. Baptista has nearly 300 games of North American professional hockey experience, all in the ECHL with Quad City, Wichita, Fort Wayne, Greenville, and most recently seven games this season in Rapid City. In those combined 297 games, Baptista has logged 187 points off 79 goals and 108 assists. Cook is no stranger to the SPHL, having played a combined 227 games over the past six seasons in Peoria, Columbus, Mississippi (RiverKings), and Fayetteville. Cook also played 30 games during the 2017-18 season in the ECHL with Norfolk. In his 257 total games pro, he has scored 168 goals (51 goals, 117 assists).
INSIDE THE ICE BEARS: Knoxville will bring a much different looking team to the Centreplex tonight than the one it had 33 days ago in its 3-0 shutout win. The architect of that shutout, goaltender Jeremy Brodeur, is now with Binghamton in the American Hockey League, the AHL affiliate of the New Jersey Devils, where father Martin Brodeur spent the bulk of his Hall of Fame career. In Brodeur’s place, Jeremy Murdaca and Peter Di Salvo man the Ice Bears’ net. Forward Nick Master, who scored twice and had an assist on the other goal in Knoxville’s win in Macon, remains with the team, however. Center Austin Plevy currently leads the Ice Bears with nine points on the season to date, while Master’s eight points are good for second on the team. The Ice Bears picked up a 4-3 victory at home over Birmingham last night, ending a three-game losing skid.