LAFAYETTE, La. — When I was at the Macon Coliseum before last Friday’s game between the Macon Mayhem and Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs, I went to the Mayhem’s locker room to have my pregame chat with Mayhem coach Leo Thomas. While I was waiting for him to become available, I ran into one of the first Mayhem players to arrive for the game…
AND HIS NAME IS JOHN SIEMER!!! ♪♫♪
If you’re not a follower of my Twitter or the Macon Mayhem, you may not understand the inside joke which has been going on since Siemer joined the league in 2016. Back in 2014, a prank call on a radio morning show (which has since had almost a million views on YouTube) made the tagline viral and has since been used in many John Cena-related videos.
Siemer’s meme came full-circle last month when he skated toward a rinkside camera at the Centroplex and did a Cena wave after being named the first star of the Mayhem’s December 14th game against Fayetteville.
“It just kinda happened,” said Siemer about a moment which wound up being featured on ESPN’s website and social media. “I heard the music, I saw the guy with the camera, and I just gave him a little wave,” Siemer continued.
It was one of several great road trip moments last weekend, including running into my old buddies Travis Armstrong and Jake Hauswirth, a three-hour tour of the byways and small towns around southern Georgia, a three-minute chat with Fayetteville coach Jesse Kallechy which turned into thirty, and a much-coveted bowl of onion soup at McGuire’s in Pensacola.
Tonight’s Game Capsules
Title Belt Game: Peoria Rivermen at Evansville Thunderbolts – 7:15 CT
- On Sunday afternoon, the Rivermen captured the SPHL Title Belt for the third time this season by shutting out the Huntsville Havoc, 3-0. The Rivermen are 8-2 in Title Belt games this season. The Thunderbolts are winless in two attempts to secure the belt for the first time this season.
- Tonight is the eighth game in the season series between the teams, with Peoria winning all of the previous seven games. Only once has the Thunderbolts forced overtime.
- The Thunderbolts’ leading scorer against the Rivermen this season is forward Pijus Rulevicius – traded to Peoria on January 4th.
- Peoria forward Ben Blasko currently leads all SPHL rookies in scoring with 27 points (10G/17A)
- If the Bolts score first, there’s a chance – All four of Evansville’s wins have come when they strike first.
- Sin Bin Swami sez: The Bolts get some big guns back in Frank Schumacher and Shayne Morrissey, and acquired forward Evan Schultz from Birmingham. It should make for a more competitive game than last Saturday’s thrashing by the Rivs. Peoria 4, Evansville 2
Fayetteville Marksmen at Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs – 7:05 ET
- Ninth meeting between the teams this season. The Marksmen (4-3-1 vs. Roanoke) own a slight advantage over the Dawgs (4-4-0 vs. Fayetteville)
- Over Fayetteville goalie Dillon Kelley‘s last four starts, the rookie netminder is 4-0-0 with two shutouts, a 1.24 GAA and a .960 SV%.
- This game should start with a bang – the two teams have combined for 22 goals in the opening period.
- The Rail Yard Dawgs lead the SPHL in first period goals with 30.
- Falling behind early isn’t all bad for Fayetteville – the Marksmen are 1-3-2 when taking a lead into the second period and 6-4-1 when trailing.
- Sin Bin Swami Sez: The Marksmen will score first and immediately regret it. Roanoke 4, Fayetteville 3 (OT)
Birmingham Bulls at Macon Mayhem – 7:30 ET
- The Bulls and Mayhem have split the previous two games in the season series, with the home team winning in both matches.
- Macon forward Dakota Klecha had a setback in his recovery and has been put back on the 30-day IR.
- Journeyman Austin Daae (pronounced Doe, y’all) may have found his niche in central Alabama – Daae has four points (2G/2A) in his last five games.
- Despite being with the ECHL Wheeling Nailers for over a month, goalie Jordan Ruby still leads all eligible SPHL netminders with a 1.90 GAA and a .941 SV%
- Sin Bin Swami sez: After a 0-4-1 skid, it’s time for the Mayhem to break out of their slump. Macon 3, Birmingham 2
Pensacola Ice Flyers at Huntsville Havoc – 7:00 CT
- In the previous five games, the boys from Rocket City own a 4-0-1 advantage over their friends from the beach.
- Brantley Sherwood has been the fly in the Havoc’s ointment during this series. The Pensacola winger has six points (3G/3A) against Huntsville.
- The Havoc spread the wealth around – over the last five games, four Huntsville players have scored five points and 11 different players have goals over the span.
- On the road, the Ice Flyers have a -96 plus/minus rating over 11 games.
- Sin Bin Swami sez: The Flyers have been missing the spark since Garrett Milan was called up to Greenville. Huntsville goalie Mike DeLaVergne is unbeaten in three starts against Pensacola. Huntsville 4, Pensacola 1
Knoxville Ice Bears at Quad City Storm – 7:10 CT
- In the teams’ only other game this season, the Ice Bears took a 3-1 decision at the KCAC on December 15th. Tonight is the Ice Bears first-ever visit to the TaxSlayer Center.
- Tonight will be Michael Santaguida‘s first start since December 21st after Hayden Stewart was sent up to the ECHL Fort Wayne Komets. Stewart was 5-1-1 over the Ice Bears’ last seven games.
- Feast or famine for the Mad Dog – Storm netminder Peter Di Salvo has allowed one goal in each of his past three wins… and thirteen in his last two losses.
- Something’s gotta give – The Storm have the league’s top power play at 23.7%. However, the Ice Bears lead the league on the penalty kill at 92.4%.
- Sin Bin Swami sez: This game has the Swami’s crystal ball all fuzzy and cloudy. Must be an omen. Quad City 3, Knoxville 2
- Roanoke at Fayetteville – 6:00 ET
- Birmingham at Macon – 7:30 ET
- Pensacola at Huntsville – 7:00 CT
- Knoxville at Quad City – 7:10 CT
- Peoria at Evansville – 7:15 CT
Follow Team Sin Bin SPHL on Twitter
Dana Barker – @SinBinBarker
Mike Campos – @SinBinSPHL
Ronnie Hagood, Jr. – @SinBinBulls
Matthew Harding – @SinBinThunder
Brad Harrison – @SinBinMayhem
Anna Headley – @SinBinStorm
Kori LaVire – @Kori24601
Bryan Meeks – Instagram: maconhockeyfan
Marc Robinson – @SinBinRivermen