Well, Snakes fans, the first weekend of the brand new season is in the books. I know 0-2 doesn't make anybody happy, but there were a lot of positives that I saw.
Ian McNulty scoring his first pro goal was awesome. Kudos to Matt Gingera for quickly retrieving the puck for Ian. Ian is a hard worker and wise beyond his years. Did you know he's only 20 years old? Yikes. When I talked to him about the goal and penalty shot after the game, he was still grinning. A special moment for any player.
Speaking of penalty shots...one each in back-to-back games? How unusual was that? Both were turned away. Can't help wondering how many opportunities there will be in the next 54 games.
The power play and penalty kill were certainly better last night. The PK was pretty much non-existent on Friday night, giving up a whopping 4 PPG to Pensacola. Of course, in a one-goal game, special teams make a huge difference. The Snakes scored a PPG in each game, but their overall numbers (2 of 11) aren't where they need to be.
The PK unit was forced to kill off two major penalties in successive nights. Daniel Amesbury received an elbowing major on Friday night, along with a gamer, and one for fighting last night.
By now you've undoubtedly read Kyle Johnson's comments about Daniel sticking up for a cheap shot on teammate Will Aide. Kyle went so far as to say he would have done the same thing had he been on the ice.
I understand Daniel's role. He is a physical presence on the ice and he's supposed to protect the smaller and skilled guys, especially the scorers. Cody Dion was already a target for the cheap shot earlier to Tom Maldonado. So when Dion went after Will, Daniel jumped him.
Here's where Dion took the smart path. I said to Miss Flit immediately that Daniel was going to get the only 5 for fighting. I told her to look at Dion...he's still got the gloves on and didn't throw a single punch. This altercation was literally right in front of us, so I got a really good view. That's not always the case.
So look at the end result: Daniel is out of the game with 6:39 left. His teammates are left killing a 5-minute major while trying to score the tying goal. I know that Daniel is supposed to stick up for his teammates, but at what cost?
I'll give the guys a lot of credit. How they managed to kill the major while still having several good scoring chances was impressive.
Along with Ian, I like what I see in Tory Allan. Have you noticed his speed? Wow. Dan Bremner was a good pick-up. Jordan Braid and Matt have gotten off to a good start. They are point-per-game guys and offensive leaders.
Tom has a couple of points already, which is his role. Those long rocket shots he loves to take can do two things: find their way all the way to the net or find a teammate's stick for a deflection and a goal.
The great goalie competition of 2013 continues this weekend. Look for Jesse Chenard to be waived and Travis Bosch to be in net for one of the two games at the Pit. Then Jerome will make a decision as to who joins Andrew Loewen between the pipes.
Hope ya'all took a good look at the goalies last night, as Andrew and Bryan Hince are two of the SPHL's best. Hince certainly seems to have the Snakes' number right now, but watch for Andrew to get stronger and sharper every game. Both will be in contention for Goaltender of the Year...:)
Congrats to Kyle on being named team captain. Found out last night that he didn't get my congratulatory text...sent it to his Canadian cell number. Oh, well...haha. Tom and Kevin Kessler are assistant captains. Thought I saw Levi Lind wearing an A on the web, but not sure. The team hasn't sent out a release, so I'll need to check on that.
Kyle did well on his first round of losing captain questions. He follows a long line of good guys to deal with in bad times as well as good. Thanks, Kyle.
As I said earlier, there is a ton of talent on this team. When their timing improves, watch out...:)
I haven't heard how the jersey auction went. I hope they raised a ton of money as this is a cause dear to my heart. A close friend of our family, cancer survivor Teri Wilks, dropped one of the ceremonial first pucks. A kind and gentle spirit, she and her mom Elaine Head have always been among my son Reese's champions. Great to see Teri as the picture of health!
I was a little disappointed in the opening night crowd, which was a shade under 2700. I know college football, the World Series and other attractions beckon, but I was hoping for more. I will have to say that the ones who were there rose to the occasion in the third period when the guys needed them. Earlier in the game, it was as quiet as a church...
What do ya'all think of the new inflatable snake head through which the guys make their entrance? I thought Reese's eyes were going to pop out of his head...lol. It's really neat looking!
Thanks to Andy Luker in the front office who came to my rescue when I had internet problems early in the evening and my daughter Lindsey who helped me on deadline. Technology...gotta love it.
One weekend down...and lots of hockey to go!