Happy Thanksgiving Eve, Snakes fans! I know who the number 1 star of tonight's game was...without a doubt. Andrew Loewen turned in a sparkling performance in net, earning his team a badly needed victory.
Andrew turned in every kind of save imaginable. In the last 4 minutes of the game, he turned away a shorthanded breakaway and stopped the puck with his pad, skate and on his belly. The most amazing play of the night was a save he made in the last minute of play. Andrew was leaning WAY to his right and the net was empty. I mean, with apologies to basketball, nothing but net. I have no idea what body part or piece of equipment Andrew put in front of the puck, but all that matters is that it didn't go in the net. Unbelievable.
Both of the Snakes' goalies have shutouts and the season is 8 games old. Ian Vigier's name has been at the top of the SPHL goaltender list all season, thanks to an opening night shutout. Now right behind him is Andrew Loewen. Congrats to both goalies on a job well done!!
Kind of ironic, isn't it, that the Snakes scored one goal...AGAIN. But this time they WON!! Wow. More irony: the video feed went out for about 10 minutes, during which Sam Bowles scored the game winner, with assists by Tom Maldonado and Bret Tyler. Even more good news was that it came on the power play. :)
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This is exactly the kind of victory the guys needed. The past three losses were weighing heavily on them. Squeezing the stick has become an epidemic on this team. You could see it in their faces as they left the ice after a loss. Not that one goal is good enough...usually. But it was on this night. It'll be a happy bus ride home from Biloxi.
The biggest negative on the night was an injury to co-captain Orrin Hergott. Orrin hit a metal stanchion and fell to the ice. Play continued and the announcers, including our pal Mike Vee, speculated that play would be stopped as soon as the Snakes touched the puck. Play moved to the other end of the ice and by the time the Snakes gained control, Orrin got up under his own power and left the ice. That's the good news. The bad news is that he didn't return.
Jonathan Redlick returned to the lineup tonight and Jason Yuel was a healthy scratch. Jerome has a decision to make as tonight completed Jason's second three-gamer. Something's got to give as the team has 19 players.
Back to my Thanksgiving preparations. Having a pretty small crowd at my house this year...only 11. But this is my favorite holiday. All about families and friends enjoying each other's company and reflecting on our many blessings. I know mine are too numerous to count.
This year, I've been thinking about all the families facing Thanksgiving in the throes of grief. I lost 2 students this year. Both very sudden deaths, one a 20-something and the other a mother of 3 so close to her dream of becoming a teacher. A beautiful elderly lady who owned a local restaurant died just yesterday. There are plenty of others dealing with overwhelming sadness.
Among my many blessings is my own mother, who is battling Alzheimer's and no longer has any connection to her memories...but all of us do. She isn't aware that it's Thanksgiving, but all of us are thankful for an idyllic childhood.
I'm thankful for my husband and two young adult children. Larry and I must have done something right to have raised two such wonderful people. I'm thankful for my large extended family and the many friends I've made over the years as I married, raised my children and enjoyed several rewarding careers in Columbus, Georgia. Writing, working in sports and teaching were my passions. But nothing compares to the joy of being Reese and Lindsey's mother. I'm thankful for them.
Thanks to you, my faithful readers. I appreciate your coming up to say hello at the rink. I appreciate your comments and love exchanging ideas with you. Thanks to my editor at the newspaper, Kevin Price, for allowing me to do a job that is so exciting and such fun.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and I'll talk to you soon!