I've seen a lot of unusual games, Snakes fans, but this one was right up there with the strangest!!
First of all, when I talked to both Jerome and Matt Gingera on Wednesday, both wondered if the teams would struggle out of the gate a little, with all of the players suffering from a holiday letdown. The Snakes had 4 days off. The Ice Bears had a shorter vacation, but I'm sure a number of them squeezed in a quick trip home. I think the Snakes were not-so-secretly hoping the Ice Bears would also have a bad case of jet lag.
So what happens? The offenses showed up, but the Ds and goalies missed their wakeup call...haha. First period ends with a 4-3 score in favor of the Snakes. The Snakes scored 4 goals on their first 5 shots. Really.
The second period belonged to the defenses. Much tighter game. Fewer turnovers. Fewer quality chances. End of two: still 4-3 Snakes.
The goalies took over in the third. Ian Vigier let in the tying goal by Emery Olauson. My pal Mike Vee swore it was kicked in, but I couldn't see it...even on the replay!! I'll be sure to ask Jerome about it and get back to ya'all...
Kudos to the power play, which converted 2 of 4 chances and the PK which was perfect, stopping all 4 Knoxville tries. The numbers are improving for both with the PP now at 15.07% (5th) and the PK 88.24% (3rd).
The Snakes now have a new favorite number: FIVE. They've won FIVE straight and scored FIVE goals in each, including Jordan Braid's game winner against Knoxville.
Five goals...4 different scorers, which is a good thing. This team doesn't have just one line that can score. All three can. Well, I should say all three potential lines...haha. With all the injuries, I think it's great that the guys have not only survived but thrived in the absence of Orrin Hergott and Derek Pallardy. Both bring so much to the table and, in case we have short term memory loss, were 2 key members of the line that played a major role in their playoff run.
Against the Ice Bears, Sammy Bowles and Alex MacLeod scored on the power play, Jordan scored twice, including the game winner and Jason Yuel scored one. Matt chipped in 2 assists, as did Bret Tyler. The big offensive star was Tom Maldonado with 4 assists!! A four-point night is pretty rare, therefore pretty special. Good job by all!!
The standings are pretty tight. The Snakes are now 10-8-1 (21 points). Bunched up ahead of them are Knoxville and the Surge, tied with 23, Louisiana and the RiverKings with 25 and Pensacola with 26. Fayetteville has a pretty nice lead right now with 34 points, 8 ahead of Pensacola.
The rest of this weekend is pretty significant. With the guys playing so well and making their charge up the SPHL ladder, they have a great opportunity, playing 3 teams very close to them in the standings. Big win over Knoxville tonight and the RiverKings up next.