Former Columbus Cottonmouths center Sam Bowles returned to the ice and quickly made his presence known by scoring the first goal of the evening.
It turned out to be the Snakes' only goal.
The visiting Bloomington Thunder came away with a 2-1 overtime win in their first appearance at the Snake Pit. One of the Southern Professional Hockey League's two new teams, the Thunder returns for game two of their weekend series on today at 7:30.
The loss drops the Cottonmouths into a tie for last place with the Thunder. Bloomington trailed the Snakes by a point, but earned two points for the win. The Snakes earned a point for the overtime loss.
Bowles was signed to a three-game tryout earlier in the week. The former captain retired last April to enter the business world but gladly laced up the skates when coach Jerome Bechard called.
Snakes forward Steve Mele was called up to South Carolina of the ECHL after a torrid start with the team. Playing only 10 games, Mele tallied 17 points. Bechard looked to replace a key element of his offense.
"It's certainly a different perspective," Bowles said. "There are a lot of guys I don't know, but it felt great to be out there again."
Bowles has only skated a few times before reporting for practice on Tuesday.
"I keep myself in shape," Bowles said. "It's more a matter of timing and taking care of the little stuff."
Bowles' three games include both Bloomington contests at home and a road game in Knoxville on Jan. 10. He and Bechard decided now was the time to give it a try.
"We'll play it by ear," Bowles said. "We need to find out if it's feasible to do this and fulfill my other obligations. We decided if it didn't work this week, it never would."
Bechard was pleased with Bowles' debut.
"He played well," Bechard said.
"I think he ran out of gas a little in the third. He's one of the hardest working guys out there. I think he'll light a fire under some other guys."
Friday at Columbus Civic Center
Bloomington 0 1 0 1 --2
Columbus 0 1 0 0 --1
First period--None. Penalties--Switzer, Columbus (boarding) 5:48; Aide, Columbus (fighting) 15:39; Cramer, Bloomington (fighting) 15:39; Bremner, Columbus (fighting) 15:59; Sicard, Bloomington (fighting) 15:59; Switzer, Columbus (fighting) 19:25; Watson, Bloomington (roughing, fighting) 19:25.
Second period--1, Columbus, Bowles (unassisted) 2:20; 2, Bloomington, Helowka (Watson) 6:24 PPG. Penalties--Gray, Columbus (tripping) 5:36.
Third period--None. Penalties--Watson, Bloomington (tripping) 6:14; Cintala, Bloomington (interference) 16:41; Lind, Columbus (boarding) 16:48.
Overtime--3, Bloomington, Watson (Cintala, Noseworthy) 4:32. Penalties--None.
Goaltenders: Bosch (OTL) 64:32 34 32 2; Strang (win) 64:32 41 40 1
Power plays: Columbus 0 of 3; Bloomington 1 of 3.
Linesmen: Archambeault, Rawn.