The Snakes have a golden opportunity during this long weekend, Snakes fans. A tripleheader with Fayetteville...road-home-road...beginning tonight and lasting through Monday night.
The SPHL standings are incredibly tight, but at least the Cottonmouths put a little distance between themselves and last-place Bloomington. More importantly, they have three other teams in their sights, one of which is Fayetteville!
Here's the way the teams stack up after tonight's action:
- Pensacola (40)
- MSRK (38)
- Louisiana (37)
- Huntsville (36)
- Peoria (33)
- Knoxville (29)
- Fayetteville (28)
- MSS (27)
- Snakes (26)
- Bloomington (23)
Take a look at both logjams: Four points separate the top 4 teams and seven points separate the next 5!!
If the Snakes can sweep Fayetteville tomorrow and Monday nights, the standings will look quite a bit different.
As I said in my story that's on-line now and in print tomorrow, the offense is struggling, and has on and off all season. But tonight, one goal was enough.
The winning (and only!) goal came late in the first period on the power play. Both teams had chances with the extra man...7 for the Snakes and 5 for the Antz. Tom Maldonado rifled a shot toward goalie Peter Skoggard. It got through traffic and was redirected by Matt Gingera for the 1-0 lead...and final score. Jason Gray got the other assist.
The power play is really coming around. It looks much more organized and aggressive. Special teams are going to be really important in the second half, especially until the offense kicks it in gear. In the past five games, the Snakes have 4 PPG and a shortie. If you can get a special teams goal per game, it sure increases your chances of winning!
Andrew Loewen had a spectacular night in net. Andrew literally stood on his head several times. He also had great support defensively and...a little bit of luck. You know as well as I do that every goalie at every level has that slow-motion-nightmare moment when the net is open, the puck is in the crease and it's basically a toss-up...who is going to get to it first? Well, that happened to Andrew several times tonight and either his d-men rescued him or he was able to swat it away himself.
Andrew stopped all 33 shots he faced, improving his save percentage to .901. With his second shutout in three games, he picked up his third straight win and seventh in his last nine games.
With Travis Bosch spreading his wings with Denver of the Central League, Andrew will get the next two games. That's a good thing. Andrew came into this season as the undisputed number one goalie. It was the first time he's had that distinction. I know, I know...Jerome likes to say he's got two number one goalies. At times during the past few seasons, that's been true. Andrew and Ian Vigier both went through spells where one was playing better than the other.
This season Jerome has alternated goalies for the most part, but lately if the team has had three in three. Andrew has gotten two of the starts, which is way it should be. Andrew earned this postion. Let him take the top goalie job, take it out for a spin and see what he can do.
I just have to say that it's going to be great to see number 40 on the Snakes bench tomorrow night. Ian is a class act. He was one of my go-to guys for six years and a great interview from his very first game.
Can't wait to hear what ya'all think of the special military jerseys. They are very, very unique. Love the artist's rendering and can't wait to see them in person.
This is your chance to start making a move, guys. Game two is tomorrow night.