Hi, Snakes fans. Well, that was quite a strong beginning to the final weekend of the regular season, though the 4-1 thumping of Augusta didn't come without a price...
Daniel Amesbury was slapped with a match penalty early in the game. After a fight, apparently Daniel continued to attack Augusta's David Lun. I didn't see it, as I was writing at the time, but it sounded to me like Daniel flipped Lun's feet out from under him after the fight was over.
The Snakes were already one man short...at least. They welcomed Tom Maldonado back, so the D corps was complete for the first time in forever, but the team was a forward short because of Will Aide's suspension. With Daniel given a match, that makes them 2 down. Hoping I'm wrong but I didn't see Jordan Braid out there after the first couple of shifts. Afraid Jordan is ill or injured, though I saw him yesterday and he seemed fine then.
The lines, which Jerome inexplicably shook up Tuesday right before the game, had Derek Pallardy and Sam Bowles with Matt Gingera. Jordan and John Sullivan were with Levi Lind. Daniel was with the offensive hero of the night, Mark Thorburn and Jason Yuel.
Later I saw everybody on the ice with everybody else, which will happen when you're down to 7 forwards...UGH.
Back to Daniel. The match carries an automatic suspension with it. How many games is anybody's guess, but if it were to be more than 2, the Snakes would have to play short to open the playoffs, whether Daniel makes the roster or not. Are we EVER to see 16 skaters on the ice again??? UGH.
Kudos to Mark for his first pro hat trick, all in the first period. After a quick start, Mark had been shut out in the last five games. Three goals by Mark and one by Matt gave the Snakes an early lead which was never threatened. Despite Augusta's desperation, they managed only one goal which Andrew Loewen scored on himself..haha.
Andrew wandered, as Andrew does, and tried to clear the puck. Instead it went right on an Jonathan Juliano's stick...and then into the net. 4-1 was the final. The league's best goalie was THIS close to another shutout. Instead he had to settle for saving 34 of 35 shots, a pretty good night's work. :)
With Augusta's loss, the RiverHawks' playoff hopes took a serious hit. They've been the odd team out for a while, until a late charge put them only three points behind Huntsville. But Huntsville is leading Knoxville as I write this, 2-1 in the third period. A Havoc win would all but assure that the RiverHawks have gone from first to worst.
Speaking of Huntsville, get well wishes go out to goaltender Dan McWhinney who underwent an emergency appendectomy yesterday. He's already out of the hospital, but will not play again this season. Tough break for the Havoc and McWhinney.
Look for a story in tomorrow's paper on the top scoring line of Gingera-Braid-Sullivan, which apparently no longer exists...haha. Within a day of my writing the story, Jerome scrambled the lines, moving Matt to play with Sammy and Derek and leaving John and Jordan together on the line with Levi. Now, if Jordan's ill or injured, who knows what happens next,
Looking forward to the last two home games of the season, one vs Pensacola and the finale against Augusta. Saturday night will be special as Orrin Hergott's number 11 is retired. I know Fonda and Nixon will be on hand. Hope Orrin's mom and dad get to come down as well. What a feeling that must be to see your son honored like that...his name and number in the Civic Center rafters forever. Wow. It'll be a great night!!