Cottonmouths 7, IceGators 4: Snakes get big win over first-place Louisiana

Cottonmouths have defeated IceGators twice in last 10 days

Special to the Ledger-EnquirerDecember 22, 2013 

The Columbus Cottonmouths entered their SPHL contest against visiting Louisiana looking to make an offensive statement and reclaim home ice advantage.

The Snakes rose to the challenge in posting a 7-4 victory over the first-place IceGators Sunday at the Columbus Civic Center.

Louisiana sports a shiny 14-7-2 record.

Yet the Cottonmouths have beaten them twice in 10 days, once at home and once on the road, scoring eight and seven goals, respectively.

The night after a disappointing 3-2 home loss to the Mississippi Surge, the Snakes made a quick start a top priority.

They quickly jumped on the Gators and goaltender Matt Zenzola for two first-period goals.

Neilsson Arcibal deflected a Jordan Draper shot for the first goal at the 7:09 mark and Matt Gingera scored the first of his two goals less than three minutes later.

"Scoring first has been a priority since we were in that losing streak and getting scored on right off the bat," Draper said.

"When we had them 2-0, we were feeling pretty confident."

Adding to the Snakes' confidence was their quest for a second straight barrage of shots on goals. In two nights, the Cottonmouths peppered Dan Clarke and Zenzola with 99 shots on goal.

The Snakes outshot the Gators 16-6 in the first period and took a 2-0 lead into the locker room.

Whatever Louisiana coach Kevin Kaminski said to his troops at intermission served as motivation in the second period.

The Gators increased their intensity and physical play and dominated the period. Louisiana scored a whopping four goals in the second to just one for the Snakes, taking a 4-3 lead into the final

20 minutes of play.

Snakes defenseman Mike Switzer scored shorthanded, with assists from Draper and Kyle Johnson at the 12:29 mark of the second for the only Snakes goal in the second.

"They had a really good second period," Draper said.

"They were all over us. They were a little tired in the first. Their coach must have said something in between periods."

The Snakes began the final period with Dan Bremner in the penalty box, serving the final 48 seconds of his high-sticking penalty.

After the Snakes successfully killed off the penalty, forward Will Aide tied the game with a long shot that snuck between Zenzola's pad and the post. At the 1:32 mark of the third, the score was tied 4-4.

The Cottonmouths had a golden opportunity with a five-on-three shortly after Aide's goal.

Zenzola was whistled for tripping Bremner and Kirk Byczynski was also cited for tripping.

The IceGators killed off that five-on-three, but the Snakes would get another chance.

A slashing call on Peter Cintala, followed by a boarding call on Clark Byczynski set up the winning Snakes' goal.

Draper, who finished with a goal and two assists, was parked in front and buried the rebound off Steve Mele's shot with 48 seconds left on Cintala's penalty.

A pair of empty netters, one by Gingera and the final one by Aide, gave the Snakes their biggest offensive night at home this season.

Their two highest totals have come at the Gators' expense, an 8-6 road win on Dec. 12 and the 7-4 Sunday victory.

The Cottonmouths played shorthanded for the second straight night.

On Saturday, Aide served a one-game suspension for his elbowing major in Biloxi on Friday night.

Veteran defenseman Tom Maldonado sat out the Sunday contest as a precaution after suffering concussion symptoms after the Saturday contest.

The win was only the third for the Snakes at home this season and first since a 3-2 shootout win over Fayetteville on Nov. 22.

After a brief Christmas break, the Cottonmouths return home for their first games against SPHL newcomers, the Peoria Rivermen. The Snakes host Peoria for games on Thursday and Friday both at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday at the Columbus Civic Center

Louisiana 0 4 0--4

Columbus 2 1 4--7

First period--1, Columbus, Arcibal (Draper, Lind) 7:09; 2, Columbus, Gingera (Mele) 9:50. Penalties--Robertson, Louisiana (holding) 7:49; Mahesh, Louisiana (tripping) 11:16; Bremner, Columbus (slashing) 13:07.

Second period--3, Louisiana, Grant (Mahesh, Barr) 4:56; 4, Louisiana, C. Byczynski (Staurt) 5:58; 6, Columbus, Switzer (Draper, Johnson) 12:29 SHG; 6, Louisiana, Duplantis (Barr) 15:02; 7, Louisiana, Robertson (McNeil, Stuart) 19:41 PPG. Penalties--Barr, Louisiana (elbowing) 2:32; Aide, Columbus (fighting) 9:26; Mahesh, Louisiana (fighting) 9:26; Wilson, Louisiana (hooking) 10:26; Bremner, Columbus (high-sticking) 18:48.

Third period--8, Columbus, Aide (unassisted) 1:32; 9, Columbus, Draper (Mele, Willigar) 12:38 PPG; 10, Columbus, Gingera (Mele, Lind) 18:58 ENG; 11, Columbus, Aide (unassisted) 19:39 ENG. Penalties--Zenzola, Louisiana (tripping) 2:58; K. Byczynski, Louisiana (tripping) 3:43; Aide, Columbus (elbowing) 6:02; Robertson, Louisiana (interference) 6:36; Cintala, Louisiana (slashing) 11:20; C. Byczynski, Louisiana (boarding) 11:35; Johnson, Columbus (holding) 15:07.

Shots on goal: Louisiana 6 17 12--35

Columbus 16 15 17--49

Power plays: Columbus 1 of 9; Louisiana 1 of 6.

Goaltenders: Loewen (win) 60:00 35 31 4; Zenzola (loss) 59:22 46 41 5.

Referee: Anderson. Linesmen: Dioughy, Rawn.

Time: 2:35.

Attendance: 1673.

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