MACON, Ga. – On multiple fronts, a win would be a shot in the arm to the Macon Mayhem these days.
Macon (17-7-3, 37 points) not only welcomes Birmingham next weekend in a clash of the SPHL’s second and third-place clubs, but the Mayhem are also mired in a season-long five-game winless streak as they try to weather the storm of call-ups, injuries and having to fill in for other players being out of the lineup.
Macon’s winless string isn’t the longest in franchise history – that distinction goes back to when the franchise was located in Augusta during 2012 when the Riverhawks lost nine in a row.
Here are key takeaways for the Mayhem going into the week ahead.
Needing a full “60 Minutes”
If there’s a microcosm of what Macon needs to do in order to snap out of its funk, one needs to look no further than Friday and Saturday’s 2-1 and 6-5 losses to Roanoke.
Friday night, the Mayhem got the start that they needed, peppering the Rail Yard Dawgs 12-4 in shots on goal in the first quarter and getting multiple scoring chances, none of which resulted in goals. Macon wasn’t able to keep the same edge the rest of the game, and it played a role in the 2-1 loss.
A night later in Roanoke, it was truly the best and worst of times. Macon had barely gotten off its bus when it found itself having given up four goals in the game’s first seven shots by the Rail Yard Dawgs, enough to get Macon goalie Ian Sylves pulled in favor of Henry Dill as Macon trailed 4-1 after one period.
Macon’s not into moral victories, but if there’s something to glean from the 6-5 loss it’s that the Mayhem twice pulled within a goal in the third period before ultimately falling short. Seth Ronsberg and Michael Bunn initially closed the Roanoke deficit to 5-4. Even after the Rail Yard Dawgs went up by two on an empty-netter, Macon refused to give in with Caleb Cameron punching a loose puck in front of the net into the goal for cut the difference to 6-5.
Macon could have easily…very easily rolled over the taken its losses in the third period before trudging home. It didn’t, however, and that will to win is something to hang the Mayhem’s hat on going toward next weekend.
With two of its top four scorers unavailable this past weekend, Jake Trask and Dakota Klecha, Macon was, needless to say, in need of someone to step up scoring wise. Klecha has been on injured reserve since December 12. Despite his absence, his 17 points and nine goals are still good for within the top four on the team.
Editor’s note: Our condolences go out to Jake and Holly Trask on the passing of their expectant daughter last Tuesday. The team held a moment of silence in memorial prior to Friday night’s game, and we are sorrowful for their unimaginable loss. Trask was granted leave by the team to care for his family during such a heartbreaking time.
Enter right winger Michael Bunn. Signed by the team on January 4 after previously being with Carolina of the FHL, the player known as “Bunner” could not have drawn up a better way to debut. He was the lone Mayhem player with a positive plus-minus rating on Friday. He followed that up on Saturday with his first Mayhem goal, to help Macon’s late rally. His plus-three rating on Friday and Saturday was the highest on the team along with that of Taylor Love.
Need Some Power
To quote Tim Allen from the sitcom “Home Improvement,” “needs more power!”
Macon continues to try and get its power-play unit in gear as it ranks ninth in the league with one goal in its previous 16 combined chances in the past three games. Obviously, having Trask out of the lineup this past weekend didn’t help as he has six of the team’s 16 power play goals. Next behind him is Derek Sutliffe with three.
Possible Goalie Rotation?
Macon started Ian Sylves in goal for the second straight Friday/Saturday weekend slate of games with the similar result each time. Sylves play put the Mayhem in position to win on Friday, only to be chased from the game the following night, replaced each time by Henry Dill.
This past weekend, Sylves stopped 15 of 17 shots while on Saturday, four goals in four shots on goal resulting in Dill coming in to handle the rest of the way, giving up just one goal on 13 shots.
It’ll be very interesting this week to see how Macon handles next weekend and whether or not one goalie gets both starts or its a one goalie per game rotation.
Follow me on Twitter for all the latest news on the Macon Mayhem, I’m @SinBinMayhem.