Twenty-four hours after one of their biggest wins of the season, the Snakes lost a game that Jerome called "disheartening". For the first time this season, I was happy not to have to write this game story. My colleague Chris White had the unenviable task of interviewing Jerome and Daryl.
As the final minute wound down, I was standing by the glass talking to Mitch. I told him I'd seen fairly big shot differentials, but never any this big. It ended up 54-17, which is unbelievable, but true. The final score is even more disheartening.
The Snakes made four mistakes that ended up in the back of the net. Turnovers were a killer tonight and the IceGators took full advantage. Ian was pretty frustrated after the game. I always try to give the guys space when they come off the ice, especially after a loss like this. So I was hanging back and heard...rather than saw...a stick taking the full brunt of somebody's disappointment. I later confirmed it was Ian.
I can't say enough about Mike Brown. One thing I'm certain of...if Brown had been in net for Louisiana all season, the standings would look very different. The Gators certainly wouldn't have dropped 20 games in a row.
Brown was a fifth-round pick by the Bruins in the 2003 NHL draft. He's played as high as the AHL and also in the ECHL and CHL. This is Brown's fifth team this season, going from Wheeling (ECHL) to Rio Grande Valley (CHL) to Trenton (ECHL) before coming to the SPHL. He started out here with Mississippi who traded him to LA on Feb. 4.
Since Brown came to the Gators, he's posted a record of 7-3 and his GAA is a healthy 2.50.
I counted two rebounds Brown gave up. Not saying I didn't miss one or two...but TWO in 60 minutes? One shot went off his glove and other trickled about two inches in front of him. This guy put on a goaltending clinic tonight. Yikes.
When I looked down the shot totals, it wasn't surprising that every Snake threw the puck at the net. It's exactly what Jerome tells them to do. Shoot, shoot, shoot (repeat 54 times) and one will go in. Usually. Daryl led the way with 9. Every single position player had at least two goals. The d-men chipped in 15!! Not a single one got past Brown. Unbelievable, but true.
Knowing the guys wouldn't exactly be in the mood to chat, I stood outside the locker room and tried to make myself invisible. I got a little smile from Dave when I congratulated him on his first coaching win last night.
Having been raised by parents who insisted on good manners and spending my whole adult life in the south where folks speak to each other, I inexplicably asked Jesse..."how are you doing?" when he came toward me. Geez...lucky he didn't clobber me. He said "not happy". My reply: "I am SO sorry...what a stupid thing to ask". He smiled and went in the locker room, probably to escape future inane comments. Ugh.
The commish was here for his first and only visit of the season since Wanda jokingly banned him from the building after the shutout loss. Jim Combs and I had a chance to chat briefly while I was happily staying out of the players' way.
Great to see all-star defenseman Brad Prefontaine in town for a visit. One of the Snakes' all-time most colorful characters and a member of the 1998 Levins Cup Champion team, Brad is one of the nicest guys to ever don a Snakes sweater.
The one bright spot for many was when Jeff dropped the gloves with Marc Rechlicz. Jeff landed some pretty good shots. Decision MacPhee.
Great to see Will's parents in town for a visit. His dad, Eric, has been here several times and always stops by for a chat. This time I also got to meet the captain's mom, Karen. Sorry ya'all didn't see a better result, but there's always tomorrow.
Tomorrow the Snakes get the chance to avenge a pair of home losses to the Surge last weekend. The home losing streak is now at three.