It'll be a long, yet very happy, bus ride from Louisiana for the Snakes tonight. You can hear the sighs of relief from here!! Incredible win for the guys...8-6 over LA. Yes, you read that right...8 goals!
First, let me rant about the Stars of the Game. They need to abolish them if officials in some of these cities are going to make them a joke. The stars tonight were a complete travesty. Steve Mele, a rookie in only his second game as a Snake, scores FIVE points. Tom Maldonado scores FOUR and neither get named as stars. Instead, they picked two LA players who had two goals each and Jeremy Boyer who had 4 points, a goal and three assists. Boyer was the only legitimate contender from the losing team.
Since this is my blog and you are Snakes fans, I'm sure ya'all will appreciate the Kathy Gierer Stars of the Game:
STAR 1: Steve Mele...4G, 1A...5 points
STAR 2: Tom Maldonado...1G, 3A...4 points
STAR 3: Jeremy Boyer...1G 3A...4 points
A historic win for the Cottonmouths tonight. They scored a season-high 8 goals. 8...that's the total number scored over the last SIX games. Yikes!
Look at the scoring. Obviously, a huge night for both Steve and Tom. But balanced scoring is what they want and what the Snakes got on this night. Goals scored by five different players and assists by seven different guys.
When you look at my story in tomorrow's paper, you'll hear from a positive, optimistic leadership team. I sat down with Tom, Levi Lind, Kyle Johnson and Andrew Loewen on Tuesday at the Medical Center after they visited the children.
One question that didn't make the story was: I've described this team's biggest issue as inconsistency. Can you come up with another one-word description? The guys couldn't. They said that inconsistency pretty much hit the nail on the head.
Take a look at tonight's game. Example #1: giving up the first goal 13 seconds in. #2: giving up a second one three minutes later. People are still getting settled in their seats and you're down by two. Not good when you desperately need something positive to happen.
#3: You score a whopping SIX goals in the second period. #4 You score 3 PPG. #5 You build a 6-3 lead as the clock winds down in the second. #6 You give up a goal with 8 seconds left in the second. #9 You give up 2 goals in 25 seconds...BOOM...tie game. #10 You come up with the winning goal, on the road, against the first-place team, to snap a five-game losing streak.
Dizzy yet? That's inconsistency for you.
But none of this matters. This was gut check time. Two dismal goals only 25 seconds apart, one off a LA player's shoulder and the other when Andrew went wandering. So basically, a flying puck and empty netter and a considerable lead has vanished. They hung in there, came back and won. They must be so thrilled and I'm happy for them.
When I saw all of them on Tuesday...all but Will Aide and Chris Bailer who were ill...they were a loose, happy bunch. Wanda Amos talked to them before they went in to visit the sick children. She talked about the importance of playing well...and how it paled in comparison to what they did that day. Cheering up little kids who are ill was their mission. The smiles were big and bright...on the players and little guys alike.
When I sat down and talked with the team's leaders, they weren't just yapping to satisfy the beat writer. Give her a few platitudes and she'll write her story and you'll be done with her for a while...haha. They were thoughtful, serious and confident. It was good to see.
Also good to see Mike Switzer walking with two good legs...no crutches, no brace. YAY! He plans to be back next weekend.
Final thoughts about the hospital visit. Wanda has the biggest heart of anybody I've ever met. She takes this hospital commitment seriously and does all the shopping herself. She must feel like Mrs. Santa Claus as she had, literally, a couple dozen shopping bags carefully chosen and packed to brighten these kids' day.
Her commitment is so deep and it has roots in her humble beginnings. She talked quite emotionally of a memorable Christmas as a child when her mom struggled to provide for Wanda and her brothers. Putting a smile on these kids' faces meant the world to her.
Tomorrow night, hopefully we'll see the offensive explosion continue. Especially on the night of the annual Teddy Bear Toss, it'll be good to get a quick goal and keep 'em coming.