The Snakes did an unbelievable job on the PK tonight. All I can say is...wow. The 5-on-3 kill was big, but the five-minute major was HUGE.
First of all, no way was that a major. A regular, run-of-the-mill boarding call, maybe. Considering all of the stuff that was let go, may not have been a call at all! Scott Brand was at the game tonight. Jerome mentioned to me before the game that Scott would be there both nights. Unfortunately, when Scott passed me in the hallway, I was knee deep in player interviews, so I didn't get a chance to talk to him.
I hope to see him Saturday night and ask him if that was a legitimate call. My guess is NO. Scott is usually pretty straightforward about his officials. Will let you know what he says.
Ironically, Dave was called for the major. Later in the game, he was sent head first into the boards on what looked like a worse boarding call than the one he was zapped with. No call. Ugh.
This was just a great game, starting with the Orrin-Tuomi encounter at the drop of the puck. It looked to me like Tuomi slashed Orrin, but Orrin said no, that he was just a little peeved that Orrin's stick happened to end up between his legs. A little shoving and chirping ensued and Orrin made him pay with a nifty little goal.
I really thought Ian misplayed the first goal right into the net. That's what player interviews are for. :) When I was a goalie-in-training, Chad told me that when a puck is deflected, all bets are off. It starts fluttering and changing direction in the air and you never know where it's going.
That's what happened here. It hit a stick and then was like a knuckleball. Ian is trying to catch it with that clunky glove. For lack of a better term, he wasn't in a great position to catch it underhanded or to swipe it out of the air. An awkward-looking goal, definitely.
The second Snakes goal was a thing of beauty. I hated that I didn't get to talk about it in the story, but I ran out of time and space...haha. Mitch and Pete were flying toward Gallant two-on-one. I was writing down the phrase "textbook passing" when Joe turned to Miss Flit and me and said "that was textbook passing". Pretty funny. We've been sitting together for several years and I guess are starting to think alike too! :)
The 5-on-3s were a big key to this game. Snakes convert theirs and stuff Knoxville's. They were nearly identical in length...1:10 for the Snakes and 1:09 for Knoxville.
Jesse scores to tie it...on a goal originally credited to Levi. So it's 3-3 late in the second. I'm having visions/nightmares about OT or a shootout, for good reason. The Snakes and Ice Bears have a tendency to play one-goal games and have already been in two shootouts. Most recently the Snakes lost up in Knoxville in a shootout just a week ago. Both Columbus shootouts have been against Knoxville and each team has won one. So I'm thinking somebody needs to break this tie...NOW.
Then comes the Knoxville 5-on-3, which the Snakes kill off. Exhale. Then the boarding major. Not good. As we all know, a team can score as many goals as possible in the five-minute span and the guy doesn't get to come out of the box. Not exactly the scenario you want when you're trying to break a 3-3 tie.
This, however, was the Snakes' finest hour. Not only didn't they allow a goal...but Knoxville went five whole minutes without a single shot on goal!! Pete had a good scoring chance early in the PK, but couldn't get it past Gallant.
Then came Orrin's second goal of the night, which was the game winner. Only 8 seconds were left in the major when Orrin became the hero of the night. For his efforts, Orrin was named Warrior of the Game by his teammates. Congrats, Orrin!
Ian made some major stops, including a couple of SH breakaways on a subsequent Snakes PP. With a tiny one-goal lead, he stopped a flurry of shots with about 6:30 left. Midway through the final period, Will blocked Segal's shot with the body. Knoxville had its chances, but the D and Ian really stepped up.
It was family night at the Snake Pit. Will's dad stopped by to say hello as did Jesse's dad. It was a pleasure for me to meet Barney's mom for the first time. Josie Slayton is mom of the SPHL's most proficient EBUG. Barney has already suited up for three teams this season, but, of course, his home is with the Snakes.
Josie told me that she likes to cut out all of my stories that mention Barney. I told her that I generally get his name in a couple of times per year. Barney is WAY over his limit this year...haha.
Tonight (it's after midnight, I just realized!) Pensacola comes to town. The Jekyll-and-Hyde meetings in early January are fresh in all of our minds. A 9-1 rout followed by a 3-0 shutout.
Orrin said that he feels the Snakes owe Pensacola something after the 9-1 game. He said they'd remember that day all season long. The 3-0 shutout was a good response just a week after the New Year's Day debacle.
Which team will we see tonight?