The Snakes hit the road and the Gierers are back home. The wedding was wonderful and it was awesome spending time with my family. Sounds like I missed two very different games. A loss on Friday and big win over Augusta on Saturday!
Tonight was the first of five big road games in a row. The Cottonmouths have abandoned the friendly confines of the Snake Pit and will journey to Biloxi on Friday and Augusta on Saturday. Then the final weekend of the season (which I'm finding really hard to grasp) takes them to Knoxville and Fayetteville on Thursday and Friday. The regular season finale brings the guys home to the Pit against Augusta.
The jockeying for playoff seeding will be fierce the next two weekends. Tonight's victory over Pensacola gives the Snakes a tenuous grasp on second place...a whole point ahead of Knoxville. How about the Augusta-Surge game? What tension there must have been during that contest!! 65 scoreless minutes, followed by 9 futile shootout attempts before Nick Guran's game winner. Wow.
The current standings show the Snakes and Knoxville battling for second, the Surge and IceFlyers for that crucial fourth spot. The top four teams get home ice advantage, so that will be a key spot in the final standings. Finally, Louisiana, the RiverKings and Huntsville are slugging it out for the last three positions. It looks like the Havoc will end up in 8th place, but don't count them out. Sometimes a coaching change energizes a team and the Havoc could climb out of the playoff cellar.
I'm watching the standings really carefully because of travel possibilities. Huntsville, Knoxville, Augusta and Biloxi are easy trips. I've been to all of these cities in recent years. Pensacola would be manageable as well. Dear Snakes...please do not draw LA or MSRK. As much as it would kill me to miss a game, not sure my work schedule would allow days off to go that far. Possibly a weekend game and an overnight stay would work.
Tonight's game was yet another playoff preview. Tight, close contest. Well-played. From what I could see, well-officiated. No fighting but lots of hitting. From the vantage point of my sofa, the Snakes looked good. One of the trademarks of this year's team is that they never panic. Down 1-0 was not a big deal. Pete MacDougall answered less than four minutes after Pensacola took the lead. Pete fired a blast from the right circle. Tie game 1-1.
The Snakes got a PPG when Sam Bowles, with assists from Tom Maldonado and Bret Tyler, gave the Snakes a 2-1 lead. A perfect night on the PK and an empty netter produced a 3-1 win.
Great job in net by both goalies. Ian Vigier got the victory, his league-leading 19th. What a game by rookie goalie Jesse Kallechy, who's found new life since being traded to Pensacola from Knoxville. The rookie won four straight, including a shutout, before the Snakes handed him his first loss. His GAA with the Ice Bears was 3.55 and with Pensacola it's 1.20 in 5 GP.
Thought the announcer, Paul Chestnut, did a good job, but it mystifies me how he can say Maldonado and not Lind. Pretty much slaughters Cianfrini, but most everybody does. Not sure how he comes up with Pallardy.
Maybe one of my readers, coach Todd Gordon, will tell Paul the good news and bad news: He does really well on the play-by-play and is fair and accurate in describing the visitors as well as his team. But...it's PAL-lar-dy (as I told Mike Vee...think "Derek is PAL of mine); chin-FREE-knee and L-short i-n-d. Nothing fancy...Lin, rhymes with Sin. Hate to be so picky about names, but in the 34 years I've been married, have heard my last name pronounced at least 34 different ways...haha.
Great job on the stars of the game...mainly because I agree with whoever picked them...:) Ian, Sammy and Ryan Hohl. Very fair and definitely reflects what a close game it was!
Great start to the two-week road trip.