Great job by Cap. (and forward) Biff McNally and Matt Gingera, who celebrated his birthday in Fayetteville tonight. Biff tied the game 1-1 after Fayetteville took the early lead and Matt gave himself, the Snakes and their fans the gift of a game-winning goal. The Snakes rebounded from a disappointing OTL to Huntsville on Saturday night.
The win makes the Cottonmouths 2-1-1 since their Christmas break. Four days off +playing 2 players short=a tough stretch, any way you look at it. Orrin Hergott, Derek Pallardy and Tommy Fitzpatrick are still on the shelf. Orrin could be back as early as Thursday night, as could Tommy. I'd say both are day-to-day.
Derek is another story. My guess, and it's only that, is that he's still over a week away. I haven't talked to Derek in almost a week, but he'd hoped to restart the concussion protocol this past Saturday. Will update ya'all asap on Derek's projected return date.
The FireAntz scored on their second SOG of the game...ugh. The guys spent the day on the bus and were playing their fourth game in 5 days, so I thought...this could be a long night...haha. But give credit to Andrew Loewen and his defense. That's the only goal Andrew let in, stopping 34 of 35 shots. Great job by Andrew.
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Andrew has now won 3 of his last 4 games, giving up a total of 4 goals in the 3 wins. The game he lost, to the MSRK on Friday night, Andrew also gave up 4 goals.
Biff's goal came with only 49 seconds left in the first period, a huge goal for several reasons. The Snakes were ending a tough stretch by playing the top team in the league. Not ideal. Secondly, scoring a goal or giving one up in the last minute of a period is a big momentum swing for a team, one way or the other. Finally, Biff's goal showed that if you're in the right place at the right time, good things can happen.
Kudos to Jason Yuel who fired a shot at Fayetteville goalie Marco Emond. Emond stopped the initial shot, but the rebound came right out to Biff, who whirled and fired a backhander top shelf past Emond. It was one of the prettiest goals of the year.
Matt's goal came on the PP, assisted by Tom Maldonado and Jordan Braid. The PP has gradually risen to 14.77%. Not where the guys want it to be, but definitely an improvement. On the other hand, the Cottonmouths killed all 6 Fayetteville PP chances.
One odd thing that happened during this game. Referee Andrew Howard waved off not one, but two Fayetteville goals. Early in the second period, there was a stoppage of play, and Howard pointed to the net, signalling a goal. The light didn't come on and, more significantly, the Fayetteville players didn't raise their sticks in celebration. After consulting the goal judge, Howard waved it off. Good for him, checking and getting it right.
Early in the third period, almost the identical thing happened. Goal signal, no light, conference with the goal judge...no goal. Rare for it to happen twice!
The happy bus will be on its way back to Columbus soon. The guys will have little time to rest this week with home games on Thursday and Friday and a trip to Augusta Saturday, followed by a home game against Knoxville on Tuesday.
I hope all of you have health and happiness in 2013. Happy New Year!!