Good morning, Snakes fans! Up early on a beautiful Saturday. Rested, recovered and ready for a big day...
Tonight's game will have to really try hard to top last night's drama. Before I get into the game and its many heroes, a couple of other random thoughts.
You may have noticed a familiar face on the Huntsville bench. Corey Bellamy was among the first cuts in camp. Corey has found a spot in Huntsville. Corey being Corey, he engaged in a little good-natured chirping with his former teammates. But in the "once a Cottonmouth, always a Cottonmouth" realm, was seen talking in the hallway with team owner Wanda Amos after the game. Best of luck to Corey this season.
Last night was 80s night at the Pit. I'm the first to admit, that many of the promotions pass right over my head. I'm focused on the on-ice action and a lot of what goes on before and after the game and during breaks escapes me. With the exception of watching Reese heave his Chuck-a-Pucks, I'm pretty clueless.
That said, nobody could miss assistant coach Brad Prefontaine's contribution to 80s Night. When Brad came up for his pregame chat, I noticed he was in his Snakes track suit. I started to fuss that nobody told me it was casual night at the Pit...where are my jeans? But we got to talking about team stuff and that thought, not surprisingly, flew out of my head.
Brad was dressed in a powder blue suit. Baby blue. Light blue. Should have taken a picture. It was great!
Jesse Chenard came by and chatted in between periods en route to his radio gig with Mike Vee. Jesse and Travis Bosch are both still smiling as the revolving door in net is about to shut. One of them will be named Andrew Loewen's backup in a day or two and the other head home. Got to love both of their positive attitudes as they await their fate.
Jesse, Miss Flit and I were talking about the disastrous first period that the Snakes had just endured. I called it miserable in my story this morning. Too strong? Uh...no. Trust me. It was awful.
We were discussing the awful three-minute span in which the Snakes gave up three goals. They righted the ship and trailed 4-1 after one. The big three decided that a quick goal would make it a far more manageable 4-2. Tory Allan...2:27 into the second. New game.
In the first period, the Havoc and Snakes were playing at two different speeds. The guys looked absolutely ragged while the Havoc buried every single chance they had. The crowd was stunned and I even heard a smattering of boos. Hate that. I know it happens but booing the home team this early? Not cool.
Tory's first pro goal...YAY...unleashed the floodgates for the Snakes. It was like all of sudden the guys were saying...it's OUR turn! Jordan Draper's first pro goal followed by another for Tory and...unbelievably, the game was tied. 4-4 with 4:47 left in the second. At this point, the Pit is energized and everybody is a mixture of shock and elation.
To me, the next goal was huge, in that it could have killed all the momentum the Snakes had just seized from Huntsville. A late goal under any circumstances can trigger a gigantic momentum swing. A goal in the first or last minute of the period makes a statement.
In this case, Huntsville reclaimed the lead with 1:51 left in the second period, which was owned by the Snakes. 5-4 with 20 minutes to play. I admit that I was disappointed, hoping to literally have a whole new game entering the winner-take-all third.
Both teams had chances all throughout the third, but Travis and Jesse Kallechy stuffed them all. I was thinking how deflating it would be for the guys to go 0-3 after such a valiant comeback. But they had other ideas...
Jordan D tied it with only 2:26 left and the Pit erupted. It was a small crowd (2071) but the fans sensed something special was happening.
Not speaking for the other 2070, but my mind was already headed to OT and deadline problems...UGH. Levi Lind, who had a superb game, scored the game winner on the PP with only 44 seconds left. Such unbridled joy born from an improbable comeback.
Many heroes on this night. Credit Travis for steadying his early jitters and making quality saves. Levi contributed two goals and one assist and looked like the rookie Levi. Levi wears an A this season and certainly was leader out there last night.
Kudos to Tory (2 goals and 2 assists) and Jordan D (you know there are three Jordans on this team now...lol) who had 2 goals. Tom Maldonado chipped in a couple of assists also.
Welcome to Mike Switzer and Jordan Zalba who made their Snakes debut last night. Seth Ronsberg looked from ice level, leaning on crutches, his season over with an MCL injury....suffered in practice, of all places. I told Seth that we'd work on a much better scenario to tell the folks at home. Maybe an alley fight with a gang of hoodlums? He added the hit with a baseball bat detail. Remarkably good humor for a young man who has to be very disappointed. So sorry, Seth.
As always, the Snakes will stand by Seth in his rehab and recovery (see Beller, Greg) and it sounds like he'll remain in Columbus for a while.
Congrats to the Snakes PP and PK who had a stellar night. 3 of 5 on the PP and a perfect 7-for-7 on the PK.
Great to see more players involved in the scoring. Three players accounted for all 6 goals, but four more added assists. In order to be successful, all three lines need to contribute. It was definitely the Lind-Draper-Allan's night to shine!
Don't forget that tonight the Snakes honor Cpl Josh Hargis, who was seriously wounded in Afghanistan. Bring those donations to Fan Relations or any branch of CB&T and buy a couple extra chuck-a-pucks. I know the Cottonmouths family will come through with flying colors!
Finally, Happy Birthday to Wanda Amos!! A class act and generous person, Wanda is one of a kind!