LAST GAME’S ACTION: It was only fitting that Macon had a heart-stopping victory on Valentine’s Day, coming back from a 2-1 deficit with mere seconds left in regulation to win 3-2 in overtime and sweep the weekend series over the Ice Flyers. Ray Brice scored his second goal in as many games to knot the game in the second, but a late Pensacola goal looked to give the Ice Flyers the series split until a timely power play goal off the stick of Gabe Guertler tied the game with just three seconds left in regulation. The goal actually came as Macon was playing 6-on-4 with goaltender Jake Theut pulled in favor of the extra attacker. The Mayhem carried that momentum into the extra session with Max Cook sending the game-winner into the net past Pensacola goaltender Chase Perry just 35 minutes into the extra session. Guertler led all scorers with two points as he assisted on Cook’s game winner as well. Theut made 27 saves on 29 shots, while Perry made 21 saves on 24 shots on goal for the Ice Flyers. Macon was 1 for 4 with the man advantage while holding Pensacola scoreless in their three power play chances.
MINERVA RETURNS: Defenseman Nick Minerva rejoined the team this week after an extended call-up to the ECHL’s Tulsa Oilers. He logged a goal in ten games in Tulsa since being loaned to the Oilers on January 21. Minerva returns to the team where he started his pro career in 2018-19, playing a combined 57 games for the Mayhem before being loaned to the Wheeling Nailers in the ECHL for 47 games last season.
SPECIAL TEAMS BECOMING SPECIAL: With a little bolstered power play offense of late, the unit has climbed from the least efficient in the SPHL to the second-best in the league, currently operating at a success rate of 14.3%, behind only Huntsville’s 15.3% power play percentage. The penalty kill has been at or near the top of the league through the season and currently sits as the stingiest in the SP, allowing only two power play goals in 32 chances for a 93.8% clip. Adding the two numbers together – 108.1 – gives Macon the best combined special teams in the league, with Knoxville’s combined 105.3 (11.8% PP, 93.5% PK) second-best.
INSIDE THE ICE FLYERS: Pensacola will try again tonight to do something they haven’t done all year – defeat the Mayhem in regulation. Macon is the only team the Ice Flyers have yet to solve in 60 minutes of hockey, with their only win coming courtesy of Darren McCormick making four shootout shots in a de facto skills competition against the Mayhem’s Logan Coomes in a shootout win back on January 30. Tonight marks the first game in an Ice Flyers sweater for forward Taylor Pryce, acquired in a trade from Birmingham. Pryce had logged nine points off four goals and five assists in 14 games for the Bulls this season. Pryce was the leading scorer for Quad City in the SPHL last year, tallying 31 points in 42 games. The Ice Flyers begin a stretch of three home games in three nights tonight, hosting Birmingham on Saturday and Huntsville on Sunday, before a six-game road trip away from the friendly confines of the Bay Center. Two of those games, on March 2 and 5, will be the Flyers’ first foray of the season to the Macon Centreplex.