Good morning, Snakes fans...
Recapping an unusual weekend of hockey. We all know about the stellar effort on Friday night in a 4-2 home win over number one Augusta. A thriller and solid effort by all. The rest of the weekend?
Well, the Cottonmouths brought home two of a possible four points when they journeyed to Augusta on Saturday and Fayetteville on Sunday. Starting at the end (hey, anybody can start at the beginning)...
The game on Sunday didn't surprise me that much. In the third game in three nights against the league's number 9 team after two emotional games against its top one, I expected fatigue and less than peak performance.
I really didn't expect the game against the FireAntz to be that much of a struggle, but maybe I should have. Fayetteville is a desperate team. Its playoff hopes are slipping away pretty quickly. The Antz have to pretty much hope for a hockey miracle: the combo of an incredible run by them and a collapse by the Havoc or RiverKings. Not going to happen, in my opinion.
It looked like the Snakes were, to use Jerome's favorite phrase, running around almost the whole game. Passes weren't crisp, a ton of opportunities missed. All, I think, due to the factors I mentioned earlier.
The exception came when Fayetteville took a 1-0 lead. Then, all of a sudden, it's like the guys said...'wait, these guys don't really think they can beat us, do they?' and flipped the proverbial switch. It took a little over two minutes for Bret Tyler to tie it up. Assists to Greg Beller and Derek Pallardy. It's about time those two guys and Orrin Hergott started producing...:)
Bret picked up an assist later and continues his offensive and defensive excellence this season. How does he do it? You'll read about it Friday when I, hopefully, will have a story on Bret and Tom Maldonado. Don't tell them as I haven't asked them yet. :) This is a crazy week for them with Tip-a-Snake tomorrow, so hope they guys can spare me some time.
Back to the game. The power play is struggling, which isn't a good sign with the playoffs approaching. On the other hand, it can heat up as quickly as it cooled down. For the weekend, the PP was 2 of 21. Ouch.
Huge goal for Levi Lind for the game winner against Fayetteville. Levi's second since his return, but clearly the biggest. Welcome back, Levi!
Mixed weekend for Ian Vigier in net as he struggled on Saturday, giving up 5 goals, tying his season high. So glad to see Ian back in the saddle on Sunday and his usual excellent self. He stopped a whopping 41 shots, may of them huge saves.
Not that Ian was the only one who struggled on Saturday. It's never good when the Snakes don't score first. Not that they're not quite capable of coming back. Of course they are, but it's always good to jump out and take the lead. When it happened so late in the period, all Snakes fans let out a collective groan...
Followed by a squeal when Greg took a pass from Orrin, zigzagged through Hawks defenders and buried it. It was the first rush after the Augusta goal. The guys had to feel good going into the first intermission 1-1.
The game was lost in the second period, not the third. Two fairly quick goals put Augusta up 3-1, but that is not a big deal for this team. What is a major deal is the failure to capitalize on 8 straight power play minutes in the second period. Two minors + a double minor=no PPG. :(
For the second straight night, the game was there for the taking in the second as Augusta took penalty after penalty and the Snakes couldn't take advantage. At home on Friday night, my husband said Uncle Bob was going to have to provide another storage unit if the Hawks got one more penalty. Their box was overflowing!!
The Snakes and Knoxville are tied for second as the regular season winds down. Columbus has 8 games left and the Ice Bears 9. Every two points is important as seeding determines the Snakes' first-round opponent. In a three-game series, anything can happen...and usually does!
All I know is that the Snakes CAN'T play Louisiana. It's too far for their trusty (and old) beat writer to get there and back in one night. :) If I got to choose, which as far as I know I don't...haha, I'd pick Huntsville for obvious reasons. The Snakes swept the season series against the Havoc, so you have to like the odds.
Assuming I DON'T get to choose and assuming the last couple weeks of the SPHL season will be a roller coaster ride, guess we'll all have to hold off on making any travel plans!