Any time a team is in the hunt for first place, there is no such thing as too many healthy scorers.
The Macon Mayhem are definitely glad to have one of their top forwards — left winger Jake Trask — back in the lineup after missing a few weeks due to a groin injury.
Since his return Feb. 3, the Mayhem have win six of eight games, good enough for a tie for first place in the SPHL standings with Huntsville with a record of 25-8-5. Macon hosts Pensacola on Friday.
While injured, there wasn’t much that Trask could do to rehab — other than rest and not get on the ice. During that time, he would do as Mayhem players typically do while in on the injured reserve: watch games from high above the ice, seeing if he could pick up on anything that his teammates or opponents are doing.
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“You never want to sit out, but you notice a lot of things sitting up top and seeing games and situations. As much as it (stunk), you see things from a different angle, and it’s helped in a sense,” Trask said. “I’m starting to feel better and better and am seeing things a little differently.”
Seeing things differently has helped Trask rejoin the team without missing much of a beat. Since coming back, he has three goals and five assists, including a pair of assists in his first game back Feb. 4 — a 3-2 overtime win against Huntsville.
“Any time that you can get a guy like Jake Trask back, it’s important for your team,” Mayhem head coach Kevin Kerr said. “He’s a guy that is hard to replace. He plays the game the right way, plays 200 feet and can get puck in net and make plays. We’re glad we were able to get him back in the line up.”
With 28 points on 12 goals and 16 assists, Trask is second on the team in all three categories as the Mayhem have their eyes on retaking the lead atop the league standings and staying there.
“We just have to keep playing well and keep pushing the pace; we’ve got to just control what we can control and that’s winning our games.,” Kerr said. “If teams beat other teams, that’s obviously a big help to us, but we just have to take of our own game. To finish first and get home ice in the playoffs, that’s in our own hands. We just have to take care of the things that we have to take care of.”
Macon took advantage of a chance to make up ground last weekend, getting two out of three wins as Huntsville lost twice in the same span. The Mayhem travel to Knoxville on Saturday before a three-game homestand the following weekend, playing Mississippi twice followed by Pensacola.
Trask points to a more determined focus as a reason for the Mayhem hitting their stride.
“We’re starting to put full games together. There was a stretch there, even if it was for five minutes, we would let a team crawl back into the game,” Trask said. “Now, we’re starting to put a full game together, even if a team scores on us, we don’t worry about it and get back to playing to way we can.”