MACON, Ga – The Macon Mayhem will go for their second President’s Cup title since the 2016-17 season this weekend when they host Pensacola in the finals.
The Mayhem knocked off Huntsville in last weekend’s semifinal round, winning the series 2-0 to advance.
Macon has home ice for the series, hosting game two at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday if needed. The first game is at 7:05 p.m. Friday in Pensacola.
Here’s a look at Macon’s road to the finals…
Strong since the start
Macon’s 31-6-4 record, good for 66 points in the regular season, has hardly been a fluke. The Mayhem found success early in the season, winning three of their first five contests. As the season went on, Macon found ways to win games. As a result, the Mayhem never lost more than two games in a row all year long. In fact, since April 1, the Mayhem have lost just two contests overall.
Avoiding goalie attrition
Many teams would love to have goalies such as Jake Theut and Ryan Ruck. Macon has both of them, and they have given the Mayhem a formidable goalie combo of which teams have to confront. It’s one thing to have a guy the caliber of Theut, whose 1.71 GAA was second in the SPHL. One spot behind him? Ruck and his 2.06 GAA. With goalie talent like that between the pipes, odds are good of winning lots of games, the Macon did just that. Plus, with both playing all but two contests for Macon this season, having to ask a revolving door of goalies to adapt was not an issue in Macon.
The Baptista Effect
You’d never know it by looking at the stat sheet, but Mason Baptista was not on the Mayhem’s roster to begin the regular season. He more than made up for it, however. Playing in 38 games, he developed into a go-to scoring threat, tying for the team lead in goals and leading all Mayhem players with 43 points. Baptista, who joined Macon on Jan. 27, came aboard in circumstances that were well-timed as one forward, Brian Bowen, was on the IR earlier in the season and another top scorer, Max Cook, would end up leaving via a loan to the ECHL on early March.
With guys like Bowen and Baptista in the lineup, scoring power was expected given Bapista’s ECHL experience and Bowen being one of the top players forwards in the SPHL last year with Fayetteville. But it was the scoring presence beyond that that really helped Macon’s offense find another gear. Jason Tackett’s rookie campaign saw him emerge as another scoring threat for Macon to the tune of 32 points, tying for fifth in the SPHL overall. With Ryan Smith and Dean Balsamo finding their groove as wingers, the dropoff from the first scoring line to the ones behind it was not that large.