What a long night at the Snake Pit, fans. Starting to think I'm getting too old for this...
First of all, I'd like a word...or two with whoever had the brilliant idea to have not only one extended intermission tonight, but TWO. When I looked up at the clock after the first period and saw 26 minutes instead of 18, I nearly passed out.
But it was for a good cause. I absolutely love the wiener dog races!! Saw them for the first time several years ago when Lindsey and I took a road trip to Knoxville. When she told me about the promotion, I thought that was the most ridiculous thing I'd ever heard of ...haha. Then when I saw it, I laughed 'til I cried. So, I'm ok with the extra 8 minutes. But...
It's time for the second intermission and I see an extra 5 minutes go up. I couldn't believe it. Then when the clock got to 10 minutes, it stopped. What could be worse? Two things...overtime and an exciting game with no time to write a decent story. AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH. :(
Rant over. Except I want to apologize to my pals Danny and Dave. I'm afraid I was a little cranky with them and I didn't mean to be. I'm pretty conscientious (ok...obsessive) about doing my best...and I need time to do that. So sorry, guys. Will be back to my usual cheerful self on Tuesday...promise!
Now to the good part. I love, love, love interviewing the guys after a win. Their happiness is contagious. Due to deadline quickly approaching, I had to write and file the story and then head to the locker room for interviews. Lucky for me, the guys I wanted were still there. Most were already gone.
First out and grinning from ear to ear was Mark Thorburn. Mark-the-new-guy was definitely a happy man after his rather picturesque goal, his first as a pro on his first pro shift!! I've seen some odd bounces and weird caroms off the boards, but the hockey gods handed Mark one tonight.
The puck was ringing around the boards behind goaltender Dan McWhinney. It hit a stanchon or something on the boards and popped right out in front to a streaking Mark. He buried it for his very memorable first goal. Very exciting moment.
"I was excited to be out there. It was my first time playing in a while. I was running all over the place and got a lucky bounce."
I asked Mark if someone retrieved the puck for him and he said yes.
Mark arrived in Columbus yesterday and was at the rink last night. I saw him, but didn't meet him. Mark hit the ice this morning with the guys. He arrived here via Ft. Worth (CHL) and Southaven, MS.
Mark didn't directly blame the lockout for not making the Ft. Worth roster, but acknowledged it's a "tough year". He then signed with the Mississippi RiverKings, but was waived after 1 game. Sound familiar? Remember, Greg Beller was released after only 1 game in Augusta. Of course, I'm not comparing Greg and Mark as we've only seen Mark for one night, but it did strike me as funny. How can you release a guy after just 1 game?
Mark got a special phone call to start 2013 off right.
"I got the call on New Year's Day from Jerome. It was a happy present to start the new year. Jerome asked me to come down. I was released from Ft. Worth and then went to Mississippi. When I was released there, I went to Atlanta and skated with my brother."
Mark's brother Chris played for 4 years with the Thrashers and is now with Winnipeg. I asked Mark if he thought the NHL would play this year and he said "I hope so."
Next, I talked to Andrew Loewen. Andrew made 40 saves tonight. He wondered why I only wanted to talk about the ones he let in...haha.
The first thing I wanted to ask Andrew about was the non-goal early in the second period. I'll let Andrew tell it:
"My glove wasn't working in the second period. It was interesting. The puck kept popping out. On that shot, I thought I had it, then I felt something hit my shoulder. It dropped and I saw Tom (Maldonado) behind me. I let him make the save because it was quicker. All of this is happening within a half second or less. Time just stops."
It should be noted here that both Tom and Bret Tyler have recorded saves in the past week. Both were in pretty dramatic situations. After Tom swatted the puck out of the crease, referee Tyler Puddifant checked with the goal judge and ruled no goal. The goal light never came on.
Andrew did a great job, stopping 40 of 42 shots to record the victory. Unfortunately, I can't update his stats for you because there's a problem with Pointstreak and the game is still listed as unofficial, which means all of the stats aren't compiled with previous stats yet.
I was waiting for Matt Gingera to come out of the locker room, when I saw Derek Pallardy. Derek was suddenly activated this morning and Jerome asked him if he wanted to play tonight...DUH. Derek said he definitely wanted to play and "wasn't going to say no."
I thought Derek had played D before and he had. "About half the season both of my years at Missouri, I played defense. I like it because the game's in front of you. Also it's a little big easier and there's less skating and hitting."
Derek looked great and said he felt fine. He's a little concerned that the headaches would come back tonight, but so far, so good.
So, all I need to complete my night is Matt Gingera. Biff McNally came out and I chatted with him for a couple of minutes. Then Kevin Kessler came by and asked me who I was waiting for and I told him. He went inside and checked, then told me Matt had gone. Since Matt scored the game winner, I really wanted to hear his thoughts, but you can't win 'em all...haha.
So I pack up the notebook, call my boss and tell him I'm putting the quotes here in my blog. Then I look up and here's Matt strolling up the hallway. Kevin and Tom had told him I was waiting and he came back in. Awwwww, Sure appreciate Kevin and Tom...not to mention Matt coming all the way back inside to talk to me!!
Matt was understandably thrilled, not only about the GWG, but avoiding a second straight shootout!! First, Derek had already told me that it wasn't him and Matt, 2-on-1, but Jordan Braid and Matt. Derek sent the lead pass to Matt.
"I didn't do well in the shootout the night before. A shootout is such a toss-up. Either team can win. I love overtime. It's so exciting. Derek moved the puck up. It was the end of the shift and I was tired. I thought 'I can't make this pass'. Jordan was shouting at me to just shoot. So I went to shoot it and hesitated. The goalie bit and I was able to put it in."
Such a big win for the guys, who hit the road tonight for Augusta.
Time to call it a day. 'Night, all!