Tommy McMonagle said it all. As the former Snakes forward trudged to the bus, he greeted former teammates and friends in the hallway. Wanda Amos gave her former player a big hug and assured him she still loved him "except for that Knoxville thing"...
As I finished talking with Chad Rycroft, McMonagle remarked..."Man, he killed me out there."
Not that Tommy didn't do his best to return the favor. He had a first-period breakaway that Chad stuffed. Fired a total of 8 shots. But when he had a chance to crush the Snakes was in the third period. The Snakes only had a one-goal lead with Knoxville increasing the pressure.
The Cottonmouths were already a man down as Tyler Johnson was en route to the hospital for x-rays. According to Chad, not only was Tyler slashed, but it was a two-handed slash and the offending player's stick exploded. No penalty was called on the play.
In the third, Craig Stahl had yet another point blank shot. That makes, by my count, four goals in two nights that Craig was soooooo close to making. Still the lead was one. With 1:30 left, there was Tommy right in front with an awful lot of net open up high. But he went too high and the lead was still one goal.
Knoxville pulled the goalie with 1:07 left and called its timeout. The Snakes had several chances to hit the open net and failed, but at least precious seconds ticked off the clock while they retrieved the puck from the Knoxville zone.
Levi Lind had a great night for the Snakes. A goal and an assist in a close game is great, but especially for a rookie. Levi talked about the 2-on-1 where he and Jesse Cole teamed up against Andrew Gallant.
"You always want to read the D and read the goalie. The defenseman made the first move and went down. I saw the pass was open and got it to Jesse."
Jerome was pretty happy to get a weekend sweep. ""It was an awesome game. We played more under control and turnovers were limited."
On his rookie duo of Cole and Lind: "They both do a lot of things well. I'm happy for them. I think both of them looked at their stats from last night and wanted to do better."
For the record...Cole was -3 and Lind -2 on Friday night.
On their 2-on-1 strategy: "You have to drive the net and put yourself in the scoring triangle. You freeze the defenseman or the goalie. You try to get the defense and goalie thinking."
Jerome agreed with Chad's assessment of Andrew Dwyer's diving stop of a 3-on-1 as the play of the game. "The last four games, Andrew has been a rock back there and so has Will Barlow."
Jerome was happy to welcome a new player...the old Chad Rycroft. "It was the Rycroft of old back there. He played very well."
With a three-point weekend, Levi moves to the top of the scoring list two weeks into the season. Levi's six points is ahead of Orrin and Jeff Martens who have four each.
After playing Fayetteville twice and Knoxville twice, all in the friendly confines of the Snake Pit, the Cottonmouths hit the road next Friday. They travel to Huntsville and Pensacola next weekend and Mississippi and Louisiana the following weekend.