Good morning, Snakes fans...
If you're like me, you're trying to recover from all the fun and excitement of the past two nights. My recovery goes back a little further, like to preparation to tell two special Hall of Fame stories, Legends AND our new military team. What was I thinking? haha. Truthfully, though I'm pretty tired today, I wouldn't change a thing! Correction...I'd change the outcome of last night's game.
The ingredients were all there for a fantastic night: tons of soldiers, a singing goalie legend, a strong Snakes team which should be energized by 5,542 festive fans.
The game vs the Surge started out by pumping up the crowd...several times. First Pete MacDougall and his college teammate Scott Jenks got reacquainted. Let me stop here and say what I hate about weekends like this: my deadline doesn't change. UGH. My friends on the sports desk graciously flew in my story (25 minutes late!!) on Friday night, but that's a rare occurance. My deadline is 10:45. :( So that's why there appeared not one, but TWO stories without quotes this weekend. Don't think I've written a dozen stories without quotes in 35 years. I hate it.
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So, I didn't get to ask Pete about his "friendship" with Jenks. I didn't get to ask Bret Tyler what caused him to fall, leading to the Surge shortie. Brad Prefontaine told me later that Bret was trying to block a shot. I didn't get to ask Tom Maldonado what happened when he lost the puck at the blue line, a rare error by Tom. Brad said it took a bad bounce. That's the one part of the ice that I can't see very well. Enough excuses...back to the game and what I actually saw.
The Surge, in effect but not on the scoresheet, had two shorties. The second one came when former Snake Matt Kinnunen scooped up the puck after it got away from Tom. He actually scored one second after the penalty expired. I thought it was two SHG, after the Surge had only one all season.
Brett Hammond joined Sam Bowles in street clothes, but at least Brett is a little more cheerful about it...haha. Sam looks like he wants to strangle anybody who approaches him, though I'm pretty sure he wouldn't take out his misery on me. Pretty sure. Sam said he's doing well. If I know Sam, and Jerome, number 24 will not be rushed back. True, we all need to see some semblance of the lines that are going to take this team into the playoffs, but they need to be healthy lines.
Brett has an injury that's painful, but not serious. Nothing broken. Good news. Brett politely (and did I say pleasantly?) told me that he could have played, and actually expected to, this weekend. The better part of a week's rest will certainly help.
No more news on the continuing saga of Levi Lind. I expect him back...but, if so, when?
I met the new guy, Ryan Pearson. Ryan must have been born under a lucky star. Not only does he make his way to the SPHL from the FHL, but he lands with a great organization and on one of the biggest and most exciting weekends of the year. Scoring a goal in your first game (though NOT quoted in the paper...grrrrr) was icing on the cake! I promised Ryan that if he does one more good thing, I'll make it up to him...haha.
The offense could not solve Nick Eno who posted his first shutout of the year. To be honest, I didn't think the guys got many quality shots on Eno. Certainly didn't have the quantity...only 26.
On the other side, the league's best goalie could sue for non-support...haha. Ian Vigier has lost twice in the past four games. In those two, his teammates have scored 1 goal and no goals. Seriously, you win as a team and lose as a team (right, Mrs. Tom Brady? Don't get me started) and I guarantee there will be no fingerpointing in that dressing room. What if Ian gives up goals in bunches one night? I know, but I'm trying to make a point, here...
It was great to meet Ian's mom last night. Though I'm sure Louise Vigier came to meet Paxton (sorry, Maggie and Ian...you're officially tied for second place, now!) she saw a solid performance by her son. I told Ian I was proud and excited for his emerging enforcer personality. Ian gently nudged a Surge out of his way last night. Move over, Daniel Amesbury...haha. Welcome to Columbus, Louise, and enjoy that sweet baby!
Great, as always, to see Dave Kessler. If there were any other parents in town, I'm not aware of it. Thinking of moving Derek Pallardy's folks here permanently as he had an amazing weekend when they visited! :)
The offense struggled as a whole last night, but never was it more evident than if you watched Greg Beller. The Beller-Pallardy-Orrin Hergott line has been hot enough to melt the ice, but last night it looked like the Surge were determined not to let Greg beat them. The man could not touch the puck without being clobbered. He had absolutely no room to maneuver. Frustrating night all around.
From frustration to fun...the Legends were in town! My heart could hardly take my two favorite events rolled into one...Legends and Military Appreciation. It's so great to see the guys from years past who are kind of like my former students...they LOVE me now that they don't have to face the notebook and the questions!!
Got a chance to catch up with almost all of the guys. One or two I didn't see, but, to a man, they were all so happy to be back and to have a Snakes logo on their chests once again. Columbus and the Snake Pit and this city hold a special place in all their hearts. It's just plain fun.
Hats off to our Ft. Benning team. I think they may have been a tad nervous. Wouldn't you be...taking the ice with "Legends"...pro players, though a year or two past their prime? :) Had to get that in, Derek Marchand...:)
The biggest cheers during the Legends introductions were for Jerome and Craig Stahl, with Daryl Moor close behind. Dougie Mann continues to be a fan favorite. Dougie scored a goal and an assist, but if he tells you the story in the next couple of days, it'll probably be three goals and four assists. :)
Zachary Morris scored the first goal for the soldiers and Anthony Stewart followed with another. Clyde Glenn, who was so excited about getting to embark on this adventure, and whom I interviewed for my Friday story, got the final goal. Go, Clyde!
As always, Frankie Ouellette stole the spotlight. There could be other singing goalies who sing Elvis songs, but I've never heard of them. Frankie videotaped every memory, including that of his son Logan riding the Zamboni.
The army band playing the National Anthem with all of the Legends and the Ft Benning team on the ice was a sight I'll never forget. Once again...can't say it enough...thank you to all of our soldiers and their families for your service.
Taking a day off today to do mundane things like laundry. Maybe watch a movie? Read a book? Hope everyone has a great day!