It will take a few minutes for this to sink in, Snakes fans, but here goes:
The Columbus Cottonmouths have the best road record in the SPHL.
The Snakes are 12-6-3 and Augusta is right behind at 12-7-3. When you stop and think about past road struggles, this is quite an achievement for the guys. I told ya'all in training camp. From day one this has been a special team. My pal Mike Vee calls it swagger. The boys themselves call it confidence. I haven't yet come up with a way to describe this team. Am working on it!!
As of this moment, the Snakes boast the league's top goalie, top PK unit, top road record and second best PP. They sit in second place, a point ahead of Knoxville and 7 behind Augusta.
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Couldn't be happier that Levi Lind didn't have a short, disastrous night after I splashed him all over the paper today. Thanks, Levi. In fact, Levi scored the first Snakes goal of the night. A big night for John Sullivan with a goal and an assist. More on John's goal later.
Taking a look at the lines tonight. Brett Hammond stayed at home, resting a nagging injury. The blue line remains intact: Orrin Hergott-Derek Pallardy-Greg Beller. Levi and John are on the line with Jordan Braid. Pete MacDougall, Mitch Wall and Ryan Pearson are on a line together. Daniel Amesbury served his three-game suspension and Ryan finished his second three-gamer.
I've added these numbers three times and they keep coming up this way: Counting everybody currently on the roster, there are 18 players. Including Ryan...19. Counting Ryan and Sam Bowles...20. Number allowed? 18.
Next Friday, the RiverHawks come to the Snake Pit. Sammy will be eligible to come off IR then, but will he? Does he need longer to heal? To my knowledge, he isn't practicing yet, so his return by Friday would seem doubtful. Jerome has four three-gamers left. He could burn another on Ryan if some other guys need a breather. Too many scenarios to list. We'll have to wait and see.
Another achievement tonight with a big win over Pensacola. First time the Snakes have won in that building this season. Now 3-4 on the year against Pensacola. With the quirky SPHL schedule, the two teams haven't met since Dec. 23, which was one of the worst performances of the year by the Cottonmouths and a 5-1 loss.
Tonight, they can't be happy giving up a SHG, which put the Ice Flyers up 1-0 or a PPG which tied it 2-2. But there were plenty of good things that happened in this game...
Another strong performance by Ian Vigier in net. Ya'all know how I obssess about the goalies controlling rebounds. Ian certainly did tonight. Nice job, Ian!
Another solid defensive effort. I should mention the D more often. They are so good that we all tend to take their excellence for granted. The scorers get a lot of attention as do the goalies. A shout out to the D for its usual great job.
Balanced scoring wins games. Period. At least it does for the Snakes! Three goals...three different scorers. Levi, Derek and John.
Give John credit for burying a golden opportunity at a crucial time. Tie game and it's getting late. Pensacola goalie Corey Milan tried to clear the puck after he made a save, but it went straight to John, who buried it for the lead...and yet another big road win.
Jordan is now the Snakes scoring leader with 39 points. Right behind is the ageless one, Orrin, with 38.
A few other positive notes:
- The win was the fourth in a row for the Snakes.
- The announcer did a good job. Very conscientious in identifying the visitors correctly. Thanks for the effort, Paul Chestnut. One note: Levi's last name is pronounced exactly how it looks.
- Finally, and ya'all are going to holler if I like both the announcers AND the stars of the game, but...the stars of the game were perfect, in my humble opinion. :)
1st star: John (goal, assist, GWG)
2nd star: Matthew Robertson (2 goals)
3rd star: Derek (goal)
To quote a famous, hall-of-fame coach...
It's all good.