HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Macon Mayhem played their final game of the regular season Saturday night at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, cementing their name in the SPHL record books with a 5-2 win over the Havoc in front of a COVID-19 reduced sellout crowd of 2,445 at the Von Braun Center.
It took just 76 seconds for Macon to get on the board as Gabe Guertler beat Huntsville netminder Max Milosek to give the Mayhem a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the game. Mason Baptista added another goal at the halfway mark of the period, with the Havoc answering late to make it 2-1 after the first stanza.
Jason Tackett provided the only scoring for either team in the second period, giving the Mayhem a 3-1 lead heading into the final frame. Huntsville pulled within a goal before Jimmy Soper scored with less than five minutes on the clock to put Macon up 4-2. Derek Topatigh added an empty netter for the final 5-2 score.
Ryan Ruck picked up his 15th win of the season, stopping 27 of 29 shots on goal, while Milosek made 20 saves on the 24 Macon shots on goal he faced in the loss in net for Huntsville. Neither team scored on the power play as Macon was 0 for 2 and Huntsville was 0 for 4.
With the win, the Mayhem end the regular season with a league-best 32-6-4 record. While the season was reduced to 42 games from the regular 56-game slate due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an apples to apples comparison can be made through winning percentage. The .810 mark by Macon this season (68 standing points out of a possible 84) sets a new SPHL record, topping the .795 mark set by Peoria in the 2018-19 season (40-7-9). In addition, the Mayhem have set a new league low for lowest goals-against average in the regular season; with 84 goals allowed in 42 games, Macon allowed an even 2.00 goals per game, besting the 2.20 average set by the same Rivermen 2018-19 team that previously held the winning percentage high water mark.
The Mayhem also set the third-highest single season point increase mark in league history, remarkable in that the team played five fewer games this season than last season. Macon went from 40 points in a pandemic-shortened 47 games in 2019-20 to 68 points in five fewer games this season. The 28-point upswing is tied for third best in the SPHL behind the 30-point improvements by Fayetteville in 2012-13 and Birmingham in 2018-19.
With Pensacola dropping a decision in Birmingham tonight, the Mayhem’s opponent in the first round of the playoffs is still yet to be determined and will come down to the final SPHL regular season game Sunday afternoon as the Ice Flyers travel to Huntsville to face the Havoc. The winner of the game, either in regulation or overtime, will earn the third seed and will face league runner-up Knoxville in a best of three series; the losing team will take on Macon in the other best of three matchup. Game 1 of the series involving the Mayhem will be played either Thursday night in Huntsville at 8:00 PM EDT or Friday night in Pensacola at 8:35 PM EDT before the scene shifts to Macon for Game 2 on Saturday night at 6:30 PM EDT and Game 3, if necessary, Sunday afternoon at 4:00 PM EDT. Tickets are on sale through the Macon Coliseum box office and at ticketmaster.com. The Macon Centreplex is now operating at 100% seating capacity, with socially distanced seating available by request through the Mayhem office at 478.803.1592.