Good morning, Snakes fans. Let me warn you from the beginning...I have lots of questions, but few answers. OK, now that we've got that straight...
This was such a big weekend for the Cottonmouths as they headed to Peoria for their first visit there. The Rivermen were only five points ahead of the Snakes in the SPHL standings, so the Cottonmouths had a legitimate chance to gain some ground in their quest to climb the ladder.
A recent schedule shuffle added a little trip to Knoxville on the way to the midwest, freezing branch of the league. It was a move that would launch this disastrous weekend.
- Did the heartbreaking loss in Knoxville affect the team the following two nights?
This loss was stunning, frustrating, heartbreaking...provide your own descriptor here. I'll admit that I was concerned about how it would affect the guys, but they're professionals and had a job to do in Peoria the following two nights.
- Where did the offense go?
Jordan is the only true goal scorer in this group. Tom and Jason Gray are the team's two offensive-minded d-men, who have contributed a hefty 45 points this season. Tom's goal came on the PP, the only one all weekend. Jason chipped in two assists. Dan had 5 goals coming in. His role is primarily to open up space for the scorers. Thank goodness for his two goals this weekend!
Among the missing vs Peoria: Matt Gingera (leading scorer with 19 goals, 35 points), the entire Preston Shupe-Neilsson Arcibal-Tory Allan line (a total of 25 goals and 55 points), Sam Bowles (5 goals, 14 points), Levi Lind (9 goals, 23 points). Matt and Levi each had one assist against the Rivermen.
- What happened to the power play?
- Are the Snakes ever going to jump out and score first?
- Where are all these turnovers coming from?
This was by no means the only turnover over the weekend. It stands out because it was so costly.
- Are the officials that much worse this season or does it just seem that way?
The rule was misinterpreted. Andrew Loewen should have been given a two-minute minor at worst, which would have lasted six seconds in regulation and extended into OT. That's being generous as the ref would have to be convinced that Andrew knocked the net off intentionally. I'm hearing that Andrew didn't knock it off at all, but Tory did!
The penalty shot is only awarded when there isn't time for the penalty to be served, either in regulation or OT. If there's another explanation, I'm not aware of it as a text to Jim Combs was not answered.
Two officiating blunders led to two Peoria goals on Saturday night, one directly and one indirectly. With a Gingera penalty winding down, a Riverman shot the puck. It bounced off Andrew somewhere...glove, blocker, stick, body, no idea....and shot high in the air. When I say high, I don't mean waist-high. It was above shoulder high. Taylor Larsen whacked it out of the air and into the net...GOAL. Mike Vee was screeching, I think. I was hollering too loud to hear Mike. I'm serious when I say this was not close. It was above shoulder high. Unbelievable.
Peoria has excellent camera work. Love, love, love the replays. You know we're so used to seeing a zillion replays on TV at home. It's awesome to see SPHL replays. Uh...this goal was the only scoring play in two nights night not replayed on the jumbotron. Check that...after the ref had left the ice at intermission, we got one more look at it. Larsen literally picked it out of the air. Geeeeeez.
A blown icing call took the puck back into the Columbus zone for a faceoff late in the same period. Seconds later, it was in the back of the net...3-0 lead instead of 2-0. Does one goal really matter? In what would end up being a one-goal loss for a team struggling to score? Yes, it does.
I don't know what is different this season with the refs, but I know I've never complained as much in the previous nine years together as I have this year.
- What's wrong with Andrew Loewen?
This season, he's suffered from a decided lack of support offensively. Andrew is 12-12-1 this season. In his 12 losses, the guys have scored a grand total of 21 goals. Do the math. That's fewer than two goals per game.
- Will the Snakes make the playoffs?
- Pensacola (53)
- Louisiana (53)
- Huntsville (48)
- MSRK (45)
- Peoria (44)
- MSS (38)
- SNAKES (35)
- Knoxville (35)
- Fayetteville (33)
- Bloomington (30)
If they don't make the playoffs, it'll be the first time in 10 SPHL seasons.
- Is the talent there to turn this season around?
- So how do they turn it around?