MACON, Ga. – The 2019-20 SPHL season is one step closer to arrival after this week’s release of the scheduled games across the league.
For the Macon Mayhem, the start of the 56-game schedule will christen the team’s fifth in the Cherry Blossom Capital as they will seek to contend once again to be among the league’s elite teams, starting with the season opener on Oct. 18 against Fayetteville.
One note for planning purposes comes for Macon’s Saturday games which will face off at 7 pm as opposed to the 7:30 pm Friday game times.
Five takeaways from this season’s schedule:
An end to the opening night curse?
The Mayhem has claimed significant accolades as a franchise in Macon, including a President’s Cup title, Coffey Cup for the best regular-season record, having the league’s MVP and being in the postseason all four seasons.
But there is one thing that the Mayhem have yet to do – win on opening night. In four seasons, Macon is winless in regulation on opening night, losing three times in regulation and once in overtime. The past two seasons have had a similar result – a loss at home to Pensacola.
Macon will for the fifth time in as many seasons open its season at home. This time, Fayetteville comes calling on Oct. 18 and the next night also being at home against Huntsville.
Chance For Early Home Momentum
The schedule makers did Macon a favor in one regard by setting them up with a good portion of dates at home toward the start of the season.
Of Macon’s first 11 games of the season, nine are at home. That should not only give Mayhem fans a great avenue to help create home-ice advantage, but it stands to benefit Macon immensely at the box office as well.
Everyone Comes to Macon
Unlike last season, each team in the league will make the trek to Macon for at least two games. That means that the Quad City Storm will take on the Mayhem for the first time within the confines of the Macon Coliseum.
Getting Peoria Early
The team everyone in the SPHL seemingly loves to hate, Peoria, takes on Macon six times this year, and the Mayhem will get a bulk of those games out of the way early, playing the Rivermen four times within the first eight games of the season. The Mayhem play host on Nov. 8-9 after traveling to Peoria the weekend before.
Since Columbus ceased operations, Macon lost a partner in what had been a revived rivalry of sorts from the Macon Trax days. With another opponent no longer in state, the Mayhem no longer had a natural rival. Frequency, however, could at least lead to some heated play between two teams on Macon’s schedule – Pensacola and Fayetteville. Macon plays each ten times, each being five times at home and five away.
Mayhem fans will see plenty of both of these teams – and that familiarity could lead to lots of intensity from both, namely if things turn physical on either side. It does not hurt that Macon, Pensacola, and Fayetteville were close together in the standings last year. If they are close to evenly matched this year, they could combine for quite a show.
Follow Brad Harrison on Twitter at @SinBinMayhem