HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The Cottonmouths beat the Huntsville Havoc 4-2 in Game 1 of the best-of-three playoff series on Thursday night at the Wilcoxon Iceplex.
The Snakes host the Havoc on Saturday for a chance to advance to the second round of the SPHL playoffs.
Sam Bowles had a big night with two goals at key times. He got the scoring started 4:07 into the second period on a shorthanded goal. The Havoc, who were still on the power play, responded a little over a minute later, as Ray Ortiz tied it up.
But the Snakes came back with two goals less than two minutes apart later in the second period. Brett Hammond, who assisted on Bowles’ goal, and Mitch Wall scored to give Columbus a 3-1 lead after the second.
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Ryan Kretzer’s power-play goal at 8:43 cut the Snakes lead to 3-2 in the third period. Bowles answered with his second goal, this one on the power play, about five minutes later.
The Snakes were 1-for-5 on the power play while the Havoc were 2-for-4.
Columbus scored four goals on the league’s second-best goalie. Mark Sibbald finished the regular season with a 2.51 GAA. He stopped 31 Cottonmouth shots. The Cottonmouths’ Ian Vigier earned the win, stopping 32 of the 34 shots he faced.
Game time for Saturday is set for 7:30 p.m.