MACON, Ga. – Can lightning strike twice? The Macon Mayhem certainly hope so as 2020-21 marks the return of the head coach, of which the team saw its greatest success.
Initial Schedule: (Home games in BOLD and all times local):
Dec. 28 – Macon at Huntsville, 8 p.m.
Jan. 2- Birmingham at MACON, 6:30 p.m
Jan. 3- Knoxville at MACON, 4 p.m.
Jan. 8 – Macon at Huntsville, 7:35 p.m.
Jan. 9 – Huntsville at MACON, 6:30 p.m.
Jan. 15 – Macon at Pensacola, 8:35 p.m.
Jan. 16 – Birmingham at MACON, 6:30 p.m.
Jan. 17 – Pensacola at MACON, 4 p.m.
Jan. 22 – Macon at Birmingham, 8:30 p.m.
Head Coach: Kevin Kerr is back in Macon after a two-year stint with Greenville in the ECHL. Macon saw its greatest success with Kerr, going 94-56-18 from 2015 to 2018, winning the 2016-17 President’s Cup title.
Last Season: 17-24-5, finished tenth in SPHL standings
2019-20 Season Summary:
Last season was, in a word, for the Mayhem, inconsistent. An up and down season began with the team and head coach Leo Thomas parting ways early on, up and down results, and multiple players being traded or released followed. As a team, Macon scored the fewest combined goals of any team in the league and gave up the second-most in the SPHL.
Hot or Not?
Logically, the task of improving on the back end begins from a defensive standpoint. Michael Stiliadis, who played in five games for Macon last season, is among those expected to help give the Mayhem a good combo in goal, along with Jake Theut, who a season ago saw time with a pair of ECHL teams – Norfolk and Fayetteville. Stephen Pierog is back in Macon after a team-best 35 points a season ago, and Macon will look to him both on and off the ice to lead the way.
- Stephen Pierog – Experienced and versatile forward who is one of two on the roster from Macon’s championship season.
- Michael Stiliadis – Will look to build off of seeing time in the net late in the season
- Jimmy Soper – Has been in Macon off and one the past few years, an absence due to back and forth trips to play for Kerr during his time in Greenville.
- Nick Minvera – Measures up at 5-foot-11, but the defenseman makes up for it with his physicality.
- Zach Urban – Retired
- Dylan Denomme – Retired
- Shawn Lynch – Retired
- Josh Victor – Macon benefits from Fayetteville opting out this year by snagging one of its top defensemen.
- Jake Theut – Will bring ECHL experience to the locker room.
- Casey Johnson – Will be used to playing at a high level, bringing that to the Mayhem defensemen, having played for Division I North Dakota.
- Alex Kromm – Well-traveled the past three years in the ECHL, he finds himself back in the SPHL, where he played 34 games in 2016-17 with Columbus.
What to Watch For?
Much like Kevin Kerr’s first time around with the Mayhem, the big challenge will be getting everything to mesh. Having the likes of Pierog and Soumelidis in the locker room who have played for Kerr before won’t hurt, and neither will a handful of players who played for him in Greenville. But as has been seen before in Macon, when the roster gels, good things will happen. Macon will not only be looking for the scoring punch to compliment Pierog, but goalie play that it knows can stop pucks each night. In other words, it needs another Garrett Bartus or Jordan Ruby.
Brad Harrison is the SPHL editor and covers the Macon Mayhem for The Sin Bin. Follow and interact with him on Twitter @SinBinMayhem!