Columbus Cottonmouths

Twilight Zone

      What a strange game tonight in Huntsville...except for the final score of 6-4!! Give the Snakes a lot of credit. They could've panicked when a four-goal lead was whittled down to a one-goal lead, but they didn't. They kept plugging away for what was quite possibly the biggest W of the season.

      The Cottonmouths are now only two little points out of third place. They got some help from Mississippi so the Snakes are now all alone in fourth place, two ahead of Pensacola and two behind Huntsville. Another huge game tomorrow night. Actually, they'll all be big from now on. That third spot is definitely in sight.

      Where to begin to describe this game? Jumping to a 3-0 lead in the first is a good place to start...haha. These conditions weren't exactly ideal. No Jerome, no Sammy and no Dave on the blue line.

     However, Dave did make the seamless transition from broadcaster last Saturday night to coach tonight. Dave Cianfrini, Renaissance man...haha. Dave resumed skating this week and may see some game action this weekend. In the meantime, he picked up his first pro coaching victory. Congrats, Dave!!

     Sam returned home after a close friend passed away. He's due back tonight. Condolences to Sam and his family and friends.

     Orrin came back for exactly 31:11. He was tossed by referee Brent Coulombe and assessed a five-minute charging major after he appeared to be checked into goalie Mark Sibbald. I was afraid Jerome was going to toss a water bottle from the stands. At the time, the Snakes led 4-1. For his trouble, Orrin received a few shots to the head from Bretina.

     There were no penalties called for the first 8:57 of the game. Then Coulombe found his whistle. The Snakes ended up getting 10 power plays and converted on three. Huntsville was 1 of 6.

      The Havoc have two of the best goalies in the league. They've kept Huntsville in many games since their offense has struggled and their team has been hit by a rash of injuries. Dan McWhinney started the game, but was yanked by coach Randy Murphy after giving up three goals in the first 10:25 of the contest. Not saying the coach was steamed but in the on-ice interview after the first period he said "I want to apologize to the fans for the lackluster performance in the first period."  Ouch.

      The Snakes had goals by Will, Jesse and Jordan in the first period. Jordan's was the first PPG by the Snakes. A goal by Bret only 55 seconds into the second put the Cottonmouths ahead by a whopping four goals.

      The Havoc scored at the 4:40 mark on a Bretina breakaway right after he got out of the penalty box. The call on Orrin came at the 11:11 mark, which is also when the Havoc scored their second goal. It was the weirdest play ever. When Orrin was called for running Sibbald, and Bretina was pounding on Orrin's head, play (apparently) continued at the other end of the ice. The camera guy, along with the rest of us, was watching the drama involving Sibbald and Orrin.

      Very briefly, the camera panned Andrew's net and I thought I saw the red light go off, but it was such a brief glimpse that I wasn't sure. Plus, I figured play had been whistled dead. Later the Mikes (Vee and Brown) said it must have been a delayed penalty on Orrin that allowed play to continue. Now it's a 4-2 contest and the five-minute major is just beginning.

       How do you top that? Well, with a controversial goal. Rookie d-man Omar Pacha was credited with the goal that scored when Andrew was flat on his belly and it appeared that the net was lifted off. Now it's 4-3 and what was once a gigantic lead was down to one.

      The biggest goal of the game was scored by Jordan and it came as a result of a foolish penalty by Kyle Crawford. Crawford ran into Andrew and got a charging call, tried to get Kyle to go and got an unsportsmanlike tacked on, then mocked him and did the very mature "chicken" gesture. For his trouble, Crawford sat in the box for 14 minutes and the Snakes went on the PP with 1:53 left in the period.

      Jordan, with assists by Tom and Matt, scored with only five seconds left in the period. The PPG gave the Snakes a little breathing room...5-3.

      The third period was boring...compared to the second...haha. The teams traded goals, one by Pete and one by Detulleo for the final 6-4 margin.

      Let's take a look at the scoring. Three different players each had three points: Tom, Kyle and Jesse. Bret and Jordan each had two. In all, 10 Snakes scored and none of them was named Sam Bowles. Quite an achievement. :)

      So, how long do the Snakes celebrate this win? As long as it takes them to get home. Friday night's contest against the IceGators provides the Cottonmouths the chance to avenge two straight 5-2 losses and win when it really counts. It would be pretty ironic to beat Louisiana by a score of 5-2, wouldn't it?

      Stay tuned.