LAST GAME’S ACTION: Another home game, another 2-1 win for the Mayhem. This time, however, Macon was able to get it done in regulation for their fifth straight win, fourth straight home victory, and the first SPHL team to hit the double-digit mark in wins this season on Sunday afternoon. Andrew Romano started the scoring in the first period before the Ice Bears tied the game in the second. Ray Brice’s second shorthanded goal in as many games turned out to be the game-winner. Ryan Ruck picked up his second win of the season between the pipes for Macon, stopping 36 of 37 shots on goal; Peter Di Salvo made 31 saves on 33 shots in goal for Knoxville. The Ice Bears were 0 for 3 on the power play while the Mayhem finished 0 for 2 with the man advantage.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES: The Mayhem secured their league-leading 10th win of the season on Sunday in just their 14th game played this year, the one-third mark of the abbreviated 42-game SPHL schedule this season. Last season, Macon didn’t see double digits in wins until game #35 of the season. That 10th win of the season last year actually started an 8-4-1 streak for the Mayhem before the COVID-19 pandemic caused the cancellation of the rest of the season. Macon finished the year in a three-way battle with Quad City and Birmingham for the eighth and final playoff spot in the SPHL standings and just one point behind seventh-place Roanoke in a race that would have been sure to go down to the wire. This season, the parity of the league is very apparent as just seven points currently separate first-place Macon from last-place Knoxville in the five-team league.
THEUT TOPS SPHL NETMINDERS: Reigning SPHL Player of the Month Jake Theut still has a firm hold among the top of most statistical categories in terms of goaltending in the league. His eight wins, two shutouts, 1.34 goals-against average, and .947 save percentage all are tops in the SPHL. His February numbers have been even better than last month, with a 5-1-1 record, a 0.99 GAA, and a .960 save percentage. Last week, Theut went 2-0 with a gaudy 0.49 GAA and .980 save percentage as he shut out Pensacola on Friday night and allowed one goal in an OT win over Knoxville at home on Saturday night.
QUICK TRIP, THEN BACK HOME: The Mayhem play their only road game out of their next five games tomorrow in the back end of the home-and-home with Huntsville. Macon will open up the March schedule with three home games next week, hosting Pensacola for the first time this season on Tuesday and next Friday before another home game against the Havoc next Saturday, March 6.
INSIDE THE HAVOC: Huntsville closes out February with a home and home against the Mayhem after going 3-3-0 in their first six games of the month. They defeated Pensacola 6-3 in their last game on Sunday in Florida, a game that saw Huntsville score all six of their goals in the second period. The six-goal outburst was led by reigning SPHL Player of the Week Matthew Barnaby with a hat trick, scoring all three goals in just a six-minute span. The Havoc net has been split about as evenly as can be between Jason Pawloski and Max Milosek. Both goaltenders have played nine games, with Pawloski’s 509 minutes in goal just a hair over Milosek’s 505. While Pawloski’s 2.97 GAA and 5-3-0 record is better than Milosek’s 3.20 and 4-5-0, respectively, Milosek carries a slightly better .905 save percentage versus Pawloski’s .899. Huntsville comes in with five of the top 11 scorers in the league so far this season: Tyler Piacentini leads all SPHL skaters with 18 points, followed by teammate Rob Darrar’s 17. Sy Nutkevich (15), Barnaby (14), and John Schiavo (13) round out the quintet of scoring leaders for the Havoc.