What a night in the SPHL, Snakes fans! The Snakes won with no offense. Knoxville smacked Mississippi around in its own barn. Huntsville won in a shootout on the road in Pensacola.
First to the Snakes. They won on a pair of unusual goals by defensemen!! With the FireAntz leading 1-0 on a PPG, Kyle sent a scorcher toward the net from just inside the blue line to give the Snakes a PPG of their own. 1-1 after the first.
It took the Snakes about half a period to work out the bus legs. Scoring the tying goal at the 16:44 mark seemed to settle them down. Scoring the go-ahead goal lit a fire under the Cottonmouths.
It was a weird goal. Even though the camera had a nice, close shot of it, not sure what happened. I thought Sammy shot it, but Will got credit for the goal. Basically, both entire teams were in the crease and around the net. There was lots of activity. Maybe Sam took the original shot. The puck went off Will's stick, skate or body...somehow it dribbled over the line in slow motion. 2-1 Columbus in a must-win contest.
As you know, the Snakes have basically owned the FireAntz this season, losing only the Cool School game very early in the season. It's been one of the best venues on the road for the Snakes. After the goal, they pressured Fayetteville constantly and the Antz were on their heels for the rest of the game.
Early, the Snakes were behind in SOG by a 10-2 count. By the end of the first, they were ahead 16-14. They kept up the pressure in the third, trying desperately to get themselves one more goal and a little breathing room. They couldn't do it, but not for lack of trying. They outshot Fayetteville 15-6 in the final period...with the lead!
Andrew made some really nice saves, but his wandering out of the net has already been costly this season. Tonight he was much more controlled about it, but still...
The Snakes ended up with 40 shots. Leading the way was Matt with 8! Daryl had 6 and Jordan 5. How did none of these end up in the net? I have no idea.
Time to give credit to Knoxville. Their schedule this weekend was brutal. They marched into Huntsville and won last night and jumped to a 3-0 lead in Mississippi tonight and won 6-3. Game two of the weekend series is Saturday night. A weekend sweep of top teams on the road would certainly give the Ice Bears a boost.
In case you're wondering, Rob Sich has five points in two games in a Knoxville sweater, two goals and three assists. The guy Randy Murphy replaced Sich with, Paul Kelly, has three points in two games. Mike Carter, who went to Fayetteville in the Sich trade, has four points in five games.
Thanks to Knoxville's two wins, the standings are even tighter than they were coming into tonight's action. Here's how they look:
Another huge night tonight with the Snakes in Fayetteville again, Knoxville at Mississippi again, Louisiana at Pensacola and Augusta at Huntsville.
It'll probably be like this most nights now. Time for playoff hockey.