The Columbus Cottonmouths managed only a single goal in their inaugural game against SPHL newcomer Peoria on Thursday night.
Just 24 hours later, the Snakes put together a solid all-around effort to claim a 5-1 victory in the rematch.
Snakes rookie goaltender Travis Bosch stopped 28 of 29 Rivermen shots to pick up his first victory since Nov. 22.
All three lines contributed offensively with assistant captain Levi Lind leading the way. Lind notched a goal and two assists. Neilsson Arcibal, who entered the game with three goals, chipped in two against Peoria. Matt Gingera added a goal and an assist and Steve Mele contributed a pair of assists. The Cottonmouths took advantage of a balanced attack with eight different players chipping in at least one point.
One night after a subpar second period sunk the Snakes, they took control in the second period in the rematch. Rookie defenseman Andy Willigar got the Snakes on the board first at the 6:24 mark of the opening period. Willigar's shot hit goalie Kyle Rank's blocker, flipped high into the air and dropped in the net. Peoria scored the equalizer at the 14:33 mark on Tyler Amburgey's goal.
The Snakes started the second with only four defensemen. Captain Kyle Johnson was in the penalty box for fighting and Chris Bailer was hit with a game misconduct late in the first for leaving the players' bench.
The Snakes crashed the net with all of the players banging away. Lind got the puck to Arcibal for the go-ahead goal only 46 seconds into the period. The Snakes scored a picture perfect goal at the 7:56 mark to give themselves a little breathing room. Will Aide put a pass right on Lind's stick and he took off on a breakaway. Lind beat Rank to give the Snakes a 3-1 lead. Finishing the second-period outburst was Arcibal, this time on the power play. Tom Maldonado and Gingera recorded the assists.
Gingera added an insurance goal with just under five minutes to play. The Snakes' second power play goal of the night finished the scoring.
The win was only the fourth of the season at home for the Snakes. They are now 4-7-0 at the Snake Pit.
The Snakes played a more physical game from the start, crashing and banging in their preferred style of play. The successfully killed all seven Peoria power plays.
The Cottonmouths split the series with Peoria at a game apiece. The weekend finale is tonight in Knoxville. With a win, the Snakes would move ahead of the Ice Bears in the standings. The Cottonmouths are winless against Knoxville in five meetings this season.
Friday at Columbus Civic Center
Peoria 1 0 0 --1
Columbus 1 3 2 --5
First period--1, Columbus, Willigar (Bailer, Mele) 6:24; 2, Peoria, Amburgey (Tamblyn, Vermeersch) 14:33. Penalties--Vermeersch, Peoria (hooking) 4:50; Gray, Columbus (hooking) 5:20; Gingera, Columbus (elbowing) 11:00; Ruwe, Peoria (cross-checking) 11:20; Allan, Columbus (charging) 14:56; Morra, Peoria (elbowing major) 17:54; Aide, Columbus (fighting) 17:54; Bailer, Columbus (game misconduct, leaving players' bench) 17:54; Johnson, Columbus (fighting) 17:57; Rush, Peoria (fighting) 17:57.
Second period--3, Columbus, Arcibal (Lind) :46; 4, Columbus, Lind (Aide) 7:56; 5, Columbus, Arcibal (Gingera, Maldonado) 18:07 PPG. Penalties--Schiller, Peoria (tripping) 5:13; Gingera, Columbus (roughing) 9:49; Ruwe, Peoria (charging) 14:33; Ruwe, Peoria (slashing) 16:54; Gray, Columbus (holding) 19:52.
Third period--6, Columbus, Gingera (Lind, Mele) 15:44. Penalties--Allan, Columbus (equipment violation, 10-minute misconduct) 7:10; Arcibal, Columbus (roughing) 10:35; Wheeler, Peoria (roughing) 10:35; Gvora, Peoria (fighting, checking from behind major, game misconduct) 13:20; Bremner, Columbus (goaltender interference, roughing) 16:55; Amburghey, Peoria (roughing) 16:55; Willigar, Columbus (boarding) 17:33.
Shots on goal: Peoria 11 8 10--29
Columbus 11 18 14 --43
Power plays: Columbus 2 of 6; Peoria 0 of 7. Goaltenders: Bosch (win) 60:00 29 28 1; Rank (loss) 60:00 43 38 5.