#1 Macon Mayhem vs. #7 Pensacola Ice Flyers
Game Schedule (All Times Local):
Game 1 – 4/19/17 8:05 CST Pensacola, FL
Game 2 – 4/21/17 7:35 EST Macon, GA
*Game 3 – 4/22/17 7:35 EST Macon, GA
* – If Necessary
In the First Round…
Macon Mayhem: The top seed Mayhem had to battle back from an opening game loss in the Best of 3 series to win two games in a row against the eight seed Columbus Cottonmouths. Macon ran into a hot goaltender in Mavric Parks but found their offense as the series went on rolling to a 6-3 series-clinching win in Game 3. Mayhem goaltender Jordan Ruby was solid as usual and comes into the semifinals after only allowing four goals in three games in the opening round. Macon is led in scoring by grinder Dennis Sicard and talented rookie forward John Siemer. Both players scored three points in the opening round.
Pensacola Ice Flyers: The Ice Flyers took care of business in the opening round by sweeping the Fayetteville FireAntz ousting the higher seed in two straight games. They were able to get four goals past SPHL goaltender of the year Sean Bonar. Pensacola’s G Matt Zenzola was sensational allowing only two goals against from the high powered FireAntz offense. Rookie forward Stephen Hrehoriak led the way with two goals scored. The championship winning formula for the Ice Flyers was on display in the opening round with clutch goaltending and shutdown defense.
When these teams played in the regular season…
The Macon Mayhem owned the season series against the Pensacola Ice Flyers winning six of the eight games in which they played. Rookie F John Siemer was a primary source of offense has he led the Mayhem with 7 points scored in the eight games. Mayhem G Jordan Ruby was a wall sporting a 1.75 GAA and a .949 saves percentage against the Ice Flyers. Despite the poor record against the Mayhem during the regular season, the Ice Flyers won the last game these two teams played by a score of 4-1. Ice Flyers G Matt Zenzola has great numbers against the Mayhem bringing in a 1.83 GAA and .937 saves percentage picking up the only two wins against the Ice Flyers had against the Mayhem.
When Macon has the puck – the Ice Flyers will have to keep their eye on John Siemer. A quick and talented forward who can put the puck in the net, Siemer has owned the Ice Flyers this season. Zenzola will have to use his big frame to force the Mayhem players into trying to pick the corners. Veteran D Jeremy Gates will also be a big part of what the Ice Flyers do on defense in trying to stop the quick and talented forwards of the Mayhem.
When Pensacola is in the offensive zone – Rookie forward Stephen Hrehoriak has been a big pick up for the Ice Flyers and could be a big factor in this series. Ruby will do his best to keep Hrehoriak and the other Ice Flyer forwards from getting into an offensive rhythm. Veteran forward Corey Banfield was injured in the final game of the opening round and his being healthy or not could also play a big role in this series. Macon counters with some good young defenseman like Chris Joseph and a key part of this series will be how much the Macon defense generates offense.
Should it come down to special teams: Special teams is a lot about goaltending and both teams have good goaltending. The blueline of both teams will be key on special teams. On the PP, getting good shots from the blueline with traffic in front of the net will be vital. On the PK, clearing out the front of the net is key. I believe this favors the bigger and more physical defense of the Ice Flyers. The smaller Macon forwards will have trouble setting up shop in front of the net on the PP. Neither team was very effective on the PP when playing each other during the regular season. I believe this series will be decided 5-on-5.
The Keys to Victory:
Macon keys to winning: The Mayhem need Jordan Ruby to continue his strong play and hold the Ice Flyers to under 3 goals scored a game. Macon needs to activate their defensemen into the offensive rushes and get 4-5 guys going hard in the offensive zone. John Siemer scoring points is crucial and veteran grinder Dennis Sicard playing his game is important to success for the Mayhem.
Pensacola keys to winning: Pensacola needs more offensive production from the veteran players to win this series. Aaron Clarke and Corey Banfield need to show up on the boxscore. Big defensemen Brandon Blair and Jeremy Gates will need to throw their weight around to slow down the quick Macon forwards. Goalie Matt Zenzola will have to be on top of his game and control rebounds to prevent easy put back goals.
Sin Bin Swami Sez:
This series should be a good one between two teams who have different styles of play. The Mayhem tend to like run and gun action with lots of scoring. The Ice Flyers prefer a more defensive systematic approach. I believe the systematic defensive approach wins and the Ice Flyers take this series in 3 games.
Who do you think will win this President’s Cup Semifinal series? Let us know!