Snakes get split in exhibition matches

Special to the Ledger-EnquirerOctober 19, 2013 

The Columbus Cottonmouths managed only one goal in a 7-1 exhibition loss in Knoxville on Friday night.

They exploded for five goals in the rematch on Saturday, including a pair of power-play goals.

The Snakes captured a 5-1 win to split the preseason series.

The Snakes' six goals were by five different players.

Jordan Zalba scored for the lone Snakes' goal on Friday night.

Saturday, Jason Yuel scored twice and Tory Allan, Ian McNulty and Matt Gingera scored one each.

O Auburn

Prior to Saturday's game, the teams lined up for the Canadian and American national anthems.

The crowd was standing at attention, and the arena was quiet.

During O Canada, the television in the lobby showed the closing moments of Auburn's thrilling 45-41 upset of Texas A&M.

Cheers from Auburn fans rose above the strain of the Canadian anthem.

Hergott the Spectator

Watching the action from the mezzanine level of the Columbus Ice Rink was former Snakes captain Orrin Hergott, who retired last March.

Hergott watched wistfully and commented that he still feels he could play, though a concussion forced him to miss most of last season.

Hergott is coaching the high school hockey team and mulling several business opportunities.

Kipp's Debut

Attending his first Snakes game was Kipp Kessler, five-month-old son of Snakes defenseman Kevin Kessler.

Kipp also watched from the mezzanine with mom Heather Cannon and grandparents Dave and Kathy Kessler.

Kessler and Chris Bailer also watched from above the net.

Opening night

For the first time in their 10-year SPHL history, the Cottonmouths will open the regular season on the road. They travel to Pensacola on Friday to meet the defending champion Ice Flyers.

The home opener is Saturday.

The team will be wearing special breast cancer awareness jerseys, which will be auctioned after the game.

A portion of the proceeds will go to the In it To End it campaign, a joint venture by Columbus Regional Health and St. Francis Hospital. Game time is 7:30.

Quick hits

Earlier in the day, coach Jerome Bechard made his first roster cuts. Forwards Mike Henderson and Steve Wicklum were released. More cuts are expected late today or Sunday. … Each of the three goalies in camp played one period against the Ice Bears. Rookies Jesse Chenard and Travis Bosch played the first and second period, respectively, and incumbent Andrew Loewen played the third. … Also watching is prospective Snake Jesse Slobodian. Slobodian made his way from Alberta to Columbus despite suffering a concussion a month ago playing football. Slobodian is still experiencing symptoms and has been unable to begin the post-concussion protocol.

He cannot be signed by the team until he's able to pass a physical, so Slobodian is contemplating a return home to recover.

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