MACON, Ga. – If nothing else, the Macon Mayhem have been one thing this season – streaky.
Macon embarks this week on its second trip toward the SPHL’s northern arc with away contests at Quad Cities and Peoria on Friday and Saturday. Saddled with a six-game losing streak (with the only earned point in that span being a single overtime loss to Pensacola), the Mayhem are in dire need of a win. That streak, by the way, came on the heels of a five-game string of wins.
No, it has not reached the point of someone needing to pull a Crash Davis from “Bull Durham” and turn on the sprinklers to force a rainout. Still, with Macon having slipped from jockeying for second place in the standings to fourth in a matter of a few games, points are crucial for the Mayhem.
Results similar to Macon’s last trip up north will be eyed by the Mayhem. That time by, however, Macon had a pair of games (Jan. 18-19) at last-place Evansville. This time, it’s at Quad Cities (next to last in the standings) on Friday and Peoria on Saturday before returning home next Thursday to face Evansville. The first-place Rivermen will be looking to stay unbeaten at home. A win there by Macon would not only get the Mayhem back in the race for second, but could also be a huge confidence boost for the club (much like the jolt that Peoria got two weeks ago from its three-game sweep in Macon).
So, how does Macon cross the threshold to go from a losing streak back to a winning one?
For starters, the solid goalie play has to continue. With Tanner Creel’s addition in recent weeks, Macon has enjoyed play in the crease (along with that of Ian Sylves) that’s been good enough to keep the Mayhem in position to win. In their last five games (albeit all losses), the Mayhem have allowed more than three goals just once. For goalies, the name of the game is stopping shots and keeping their team in position to win late in the game. By and large, Sylves and Creel have done just that.
On the other end of the ice, the goal is two-fold for Macon. With the scoring lines being depleted by call-ups and injuries to Jake Trask, Justin Levac and Jimmy Soper, the Mayhem are in bad need of someone to step up. Trask’s absence attracts a bevy of eyeballs; his 32 points are second on the team, despite missing last weekend’s games after an upper-body injury the previous weekend against Peoria.
Levac has played an invaluable role with his ability to center the Macon offense during his shift, along with his gritty play. The result has been a team best plus-23 rating and 20 assists that’s second on the team.
If Macon can either get healthy or fight through injuries this weekend, chances of starting another streak in the opposite direction are good.