Hi, Snakes fans...almost time to turn in after a long, but exciting night at the Snake Pit.
First, a startling revelation. Jerome Bechard is trying to kill me. In a subtle, yet effective, move, he had not only the wiener dogs, but overtime...and a shootout. The trifecta of deadline killers...UGH. So that's why there were no quotes in my story. The game ended at 10:20. Deadline is 10:45. You do the math.
So after putting together a story as fast as my little fingers could type, I went down to the locker room in search of the heroes of the game: Matt Gingera, Tom Maldonado and Travis Bosch. Well, as the old song says: two out of three ain't bad...
Despite the vigilant Paul Ezell patrolling the hallway, Travis escaped (and I mean that in the most positive sense...haha). Travis is very friendly and cooperative and I'm sure he'd love to have given me, and therefore you, his thoughts on the game.
Never miss a local story.
While waiting on Matt and Tom, I got to squeeze little Kipp Kessler, a handsome little guy who was somehow still wide awake after 11 o'clock. He was definitely all smiles when dad Kevin came down the hallway. :) So sweet.
I got a big hug from Kevin and a few minutes to chat. Kevin said he's enjoying his time in Fayetteville. The downside of the move is that Kevin really put down roots here. He, fiancee Heather and baby Kipp are only an hour away from his folks. Heather and Kipp have visited Fayetteville but are still based in Georgia.
So glad that my pals Danny Spencer and Kevin's dad Dave Kessler made the trek to my side of the rink to say hello. Will sure miss seeing those guys every game.
Somehow Matt slipped by me, perhaps when I was squeezing Kipp, but I went and grabbed him. Matt got the scoring started with a shortie in the first minute of the game. When I asked him how many other breakaways he had, Matt groaned..."Oh, don't go there"...lol
Seriously he had four, maybe more. For a good bit of the first period, it was the Gingera and Skoggard show. What I think Matt was trying to say was that...uh, only one of those attempts was successful.
I asked Matt about the timing and teamwork on his line (Matt, Tory Allan and Ian McNulty). He said that it had definitely improved...to a point.
"It was good for the first half of the game and then we kind of went back to our old ways. We started making passes. We have to learn to keep it up for 60 minutes."
The Snakes had a 2-0 lead at the end of the first period. I kept saying to Miss Flit that it wasn't going to be enough. They really needed that third goal. They needed a little breathing room.
Not only didn't that happen, but the FireAntz trimmed it to 2-1 early in the second period. Then it was time for Travis to shine.
You remember last Saturday's whopping 9 goals scored by the Knoxville Ice Bears. I guarantee Travis remembers each and every one, though Jerome made it quite clear that probably one of them was his responsibility.
It was great to see Travis bounce back and hold Fayetteville to a single goal..or two. The tying goal could have been a killer, but the Snakes rose to the challenge in the shootout.
"Travis won us the game," Matt said. "He kept making unreal saves. Then he didn't let in a goal in the shootout."
The shootout. Not a fan of the shootout or overtime, mainly because of deadline problems. OT is so risky. The team who makes the biggest mistake loses. Shootouts are exciting for fans, but they can sometimes go to 6, 7 or more shooters. Tick, tock.
Ian started the shootout in an inauspicious manner, losing control of the puck and failing to get off the shot. Next up was Matt who failed to score, bringing up Tom. I asked Tom if he had a plan when he went out there.
"Just to see what he gives me. I'd pretty much decided to shoot and not deke him. Then I took what he gave me."
I asked Tom how devastating would it have been to lose a game, at home, that they'd led early and until the closing seconds of regulation when the Antz tied it up. Was that on their minds as they approached OT and the shootout?
"Maybe for a minute, but you can't think like that. We always try to be positive. We were pretty upbeat and it translated into a win."
It's so early in the season but this was a pretty big win. There was a gigantic difference between Sunday's game and tonight's. The defense was sound positionally and the offense is really starting to click. Then of course there was Travis.
Can the Snakes make it two in a row?