MACON, Ga. – Don’t mistake the Macon Mayhem.
As the season moves into December, they find themselves still near the top of the SPHL standings. With that said, the Mayhem is also looking to avoid doing something that the past weekend as marked by. Macon trailed in both of the weekend’s games against Roanoke, rallying to win 4-3 on Friday and falling 4-2 on Saturday.
The Mayhem will stay at home next weekend, hosting Fayetteville on Friday and Pensacola on Saturday for Teddy Bear Toss Night.
Here are five things to know for the Mayhem going into the week.
Stronger Starts Sought
Twice against Roanoke, Macon played with fire, giving up the game’s first goal on both Friday and Saturday.
And while the Mayhem twice rallied for a come from behind win to open the weekend in a 4-3 win with Jake Trask getting the game-winning tally on Friday, Macon was not able to dig out of the hole on Saturday as a 2-0 deficit was too much to overcome despite second-period goals by Stathis Soumelidis and Caleb Cameron before Roanoke’s Dillan Fox scored the game-winner in the third period.
“That’s a positive we can take from it, our guys didn’t give up,” Mayhem head coach Leo Thomas said. “We just have to have better starts. I think over the last couple of games, our guys had some slow starts and we just have to fix that.”
Being focused to start the game, including the mindset before faceoff, is something that the Mayhem plan to drill down on going into next weekend.
“It’s a mindset,” Thomas said. Guys just have to come to the rink and get their mind right, whatever we’re doing right now, it isn’t working. We’ve got some time to fix that.”
Goalies Give Mayhem Chance To Win
Both of its goalies from the start of the season now loaned to the ECHL, the Mayhem are, for now at least, looking to protect the back of the net with Jordan Ruby and Gordon Defiel no longer in goal.
Thomas rolled each of Macon’s goalies in net against Roanoke with each putting Macon in position to win. Ian Sylves won his second game in as many appearances this season for the Mayhem on Friday, stopping 27 out of 30 shots. Even after two Roanoke goals within six minutes of the third period on Friday put Macon behind, Sylves settled in, keeping the Railyard Dawgs scoreless the rest of the way to set Macon up to come back for the win.
On Saturday, Andrew D’Agostini yielded a pair of goals in the first 11 minutes by calmed things down for the most part, allowing a goal with an extra attacker on the ice in stopping 19 of 22 shots, keeping the Roanoke lead at a single goal in the third period and allowing Macon to stay within distance of having a chance to tie the score.
“They’re two good goalies. (Saturday) we left D’Agostini out to dry and they got two quick ones,” Thomas said. They are two good goalies and that’s why they are here.”
The bottom line is that during the weekend both of Macon’s goalies put the Mayhem in position to win. If the Mayhem can continue to get that kind of production in net, it’ll have a strong complement to its potent scoring attack as the season goes along.
More and more, the top of the SPHL is shaping up to be a three-way race with Macon, Birmingham, and Peoria separating themselves from the rest of the league. While Birmingham (15-2-0, 30 points), Macon (13-2-2, 28 points) and Peoria (11-1-3, 25 points) occupy the first three spots, Knoxville and Fayetteville are nine points back behind the Rivermen in a tie for the fourth spot.
Macon’s next turn against the top three of the current standings comes Jan. 11 and 12 when Birmingham comes to town. The two teams split a pair of games on Nov. 23 and 24 with Peoria coming to town Jan. 31 through Feb. 2.
Dawg-Gone Nice Showing
The Railyard Dawgs were unshaken by the specter of playing the SPHL’s top teams last week, claiming four of possible six points in a combined three games against Macon and Roanoke.
The next step for Roanoke is harnessing momentum from the weekend in upcoming games against Knoxville and Fayetteville and moving up the standings, where they eighth, only two points out of fourth.
On The Plus Side…
Brandon Fehd‘s ability to help make things happen during his shifts is among the adjustments that Macon is working to make up for after his loan to Rapid City in the ECHL last week. Even though he didn’t play for the Mayhem this past weekend, his plus-minus of plus-16 still leads the team, one in front of Justin Levac’s plus-15 and Dakota Klecha’s plus-13.
Levac is coming off a weekend of leading the Mayhem in that category, posting a plus-two against Roanoke.
“Our guys know when we play our game and play the way we can play, we’re a good hockey team,” Thomas said. “Obviously we’re dealing with some injuries and call-ups, and that’s when guys will get more ice time and get the chance to step up.”
Are you looking for the perfect hockey gift for that hockey fan in your life? Well, fear not! Right now, you can bid on team-signed sticks, jerseys, on-ice experiences, and more in the first ever Holiday Hockey Auction, taking place now on DASH! Just click the link and get in on all the bidding fun!