LAST GAME’S ACTION: Despite being one shot shy of tripling Birmingham in shots on goal, the Mayhem suffered just their second regulation loss of the season last night, dropping a 2-1 decision to the Bulls. Macon outshot Birmingham 38-13 in the game, but Hayden Stewart stymied all but one of those chances in net for the Bulls. After Birmingham took a 2-0 lead after two periods, Ryan Smith got Macon on the board with a goal in the game’s final nine minutes, but the Mayhem couldn’t cash in and find the equalizer. Stewart made 37 saves on 38 shots, while Jake Theut made 11 saves on 13 shots in net for Macon. Neither team converted on a power play chance with Macon going 0 for 4 and Birmingham 0 for 3 with the man advantage.
JAKE & JACOB IN NET: With goaltender Ryan Ruck out due to a minor medical issue this weekend, Jacob Caffrey has been signed by the team and has accompanied the Mayhem on their road trip to Pensacola. Caffrey was the main man between the pipes last season for Roanoke in the SPHL, ironically where Jake Theut played as well prior to his callup to the ECHL. Caffrey finished 13-10-0 with a 2.97 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage in 30 appearances during the regular season. He was set to play down the road in the FPHL with Columbus, but their season remains on hold until the last week of February.
D TO E: The Mayhem have seen a few roster moves on defense over the past week as well, with a couple of blueliners heading to help out teams in the ECHL. Both Darren Brady (Rapid City) and Derek Topatigh (Wheeling) have been loaned to ECHL clubs this week, while defenseman Paul Meyer returned from his tour of duty with South Carolina in the ECHL. To help bolster the defensive core, the Mayhem also signed defenseman Matt Stief to a contract. Stief logged an assist in his first pro game Saturday at home against Birmingham. Macon also re-signed defenseman Joe Colatarci, who began the season with the team, to a tryout agreement. He had previously played three games for the Mayhem but had not logged a point in any of them.
INSIDE THE ICE FLYERS: Pensacola has quite the unique schedule this weekend, hosting Macon tonight, heading to Huntsville for a game tomorrow while the Mayhem rest in Pensacola, then coming back to host the Mayhem again Sunday afternoon. Tonight’s game is a rescheduled game from January 15, one of the five postponed games due to league health and safety protocols. The Ice Flyers are tied for the top spot in the league both in points and winning percentage – their 16 points are tied with Huntsville, though they have two games in hand on the Havoc; while their winning percentage is tied with Macon’s for the best in the league. After Macon’s regulation loss last night, the Ice Flyers now carry the league’s longest streak of games in which they have been unbeaten in regulation, picking up at least a point in their last five straight. Center Eddie Matsushima is still near the top of the SPHL scoring charts, with his ten assists and 15 points both second to Huntsville’s Rob Darrar for the league lead. Tonight’s game is also a matchup of the top two goaltenders in the league – Macon’s Jake Theut continues as the leader in the clubhouse with a 1.68 goals-against average despite the loss last night, while the Ice Flyers’ Chase Perry brings a 2.18 GAA into this weekend’s action.