At the start of the season, Troy Passingham wasn’t even on the Macon Mayhem’s roster. Now, he is taking on one of the most important roles on the team as the squad enters the weekend tied for first place in the SPHL.
The Mayhem have a home and home this weekend against Pensacola, the home contest coming on Saturday night at the Macon Coliseum. Macon (17-3-3) started the season with one of the top goalie rotations in the SPHL with Garrett Bartus and Jordan Ruby. But with Bartus being loaned to Fort Wayne of the ECHL in November and Ruby on Dec. 31 to South Carolina’s ECHL club, the Mayhem turned to Passingham.
All of a sudden, Passingham went from backing up Ruby to being the team’s main goalie after starting the season with the Federal Hockey League’s team in Danville, Illinois.
“Practice is all the same, I get the same amount of reps in practice. We have a great team, so it makes my job really easy,” Passingham said. “Being the starter, you have to be ready to be there every game and make the saves, do your thing and be ready.”
The Mississauga, Ontario native hasn’t missed a beat, winning in all three appearances to post a 1.94 goals against average. He has allowed just one goal in two of his three games.
“He’s played great; he’s one of those that I knew a little bit about him before he got here,” Mayhem head coach Kevin Kerr said. “He’s come in and done a great job and picked up the load. He’s done a great job and I think the guys have a lot of confidence playing in front of him.”
Passingham is hard to miss around the Mayhem locker room with his 6-foot-5 frame. He uses that attribute as an asset, covering a bit more ground within the crease.
“Any time you have big goalies, they fill a lot of net,” Kerr said. “That’s kind of the norm today with goalies, they’re all mostly over six feet tall. Hopefully we can allow him to make those easy (saves) and not those hard, hard ones most of the time.”
Passingham and Kerr kept in contact during the summer. And although Passingham didn’t end up on Macon’s roster to start the season, the connection paid off well for both sides.
“We stayed in contact pretty much the whole summer,” Passingham said. “He said, obviously at the time, they had two goalies, but he actually lined up the Federal Hockey League job in Danville for me. I just went down there, had a good role there, played a lot of games and then (Macon) needed me, he called me. It’s worked out well.”
With Passingham anchoring the back end of the defense, the Mayhem will look to build on their recent strong play that has helped the team win four of its past six games.
One of those wins was Dec. 27 against Pensacola in a 4-1 road win. The Ice Flyers (7-9-5) are seventh in the league standings and are looking for a boost with John McLean (3-2-2 with a 2.32 GAA) coming off injured reserve. Pensacola’s other current goalie, John Zenzola, is 4-4-2 with a 2.19 GAA.