If you weren't among the 3347 at the Snake Pit, I hate it for you...
Jerome called to tell me about his second Soldier/Snake...Biff McNally. I told him then that Biff would have a tough time duplicating the success of Ken Porter. If you'll remember, Ken got the game winner against Steve Christie and Pensacola almost exactly a year ago.
Tonight before the game, I told Jerome I'd like to specifically request another soldier goal. It makes for a great story and I loved seeing the look on Ken's face as he greeted his Army buddies after the game. My pal Kevin Mills and I were asking Jerome about Biff and did he think he'd be as good a fit as Ken was. Jerome said he looked good and was in really good shape.
I'd run into Ken in late October and he told me he and his wife Shannon were expecting their second child. I mentioned that to Jerome. He looked at his watch and said..."yeah, NOW." haha. So Jerome knew getting Ken back wasn't possible.
I saw Ken after the game...and Shannon! I said, come on, Ken...tick, tock. But the baby wasn't born at the rink...as far as I know. :)
It was a huge night for the line of Jason Yuel-Biff McNally-Levi Lind, along with Tom Maldonado and Chris Bailer. That line scored a total of 7 points. Tom assisted on the first goal (sorry, it wasn't Kyle Johnson) and had an empty netter. If I"m not mistaken, Tom should also get an assist on Biff's goal, which would give him 3 points...YAY. Jason had a goal and an assist. Levi had an assist and Biff a goal.
The first 2 goals...by Jason and Biff...were the results of the great passing sequences we've all seen in the past. Tom got a great pass out to Jason on the first goal, then took the puck into the zone and got it to Jason, who sent it to Biff for the second. Matt Gingera, a great addition to the team, gave the Snakes a 3-0 lead, with assists from Jordan Braid and John Sullivan.
At this points, the Snakes were crashing the net constantly, throwing everything they could at goalie Riley Gill. They put up 15 shots in the first period, which is what they aim to do every period...
The second period got pretty chippy, with fights and shoving matches dominant. This was the first game without Daniel Amesbury and other guys stepped up and showed that the Snakes wouldn't be dominated physically just because Daniel was gone. Jason and Kyle both dropped the gloves during the second period.
Then came a strange sequence late in the second. I just realized I got 2 of the LA goals mixed up. In my story, I put that Jordan whiffed on a shot and that led to the tying goal. It didn't...it led to the Gators' SECOND goal. UGH. I hate making mistakes. That's what happens when I get in a hurry! Sorry. ya'all...
So, Jordan has a GREAT opportunity, an open net and whiffs. Miller goes down and scores. A once-comfortable 3-0 lead is now 3-2.
Now the really weird sequence. LA scores a shortie to tie it 3-3. It's a breakaway and suddenly all the life is sucked out of the building. All 3347 are thinking: HUH? How did a 3-0 lead evaporate? Before anybody had a chance to get too upset, Brett Hammond saved the day. Brett humbly credited luck for the goal, but actually he was in perfect position. 4-3. New game...only 39 seconds later.
Brett's mom and dad are visiting. It's always great to have the guys do well when they have family in town. Of course, I suggested that the Hammonds just move here 'til the end of the season...:) They stopped by and said hello, which I appreciated. Always happy to see players' families in town!
Speaking of...Dave and Danny better make the trek over from the other (wrong) side of the rink to say hello. No last names needed...they know who they are...haha.
A big win. A character win. A win against the second-place team.
Final thought: Ian Vigier got whistled for one penalty and could have gotten another. Not sure I've ever seen that before. Ian is usually pretty mild-mannered back there. Hmmmm.