The Columbus Cottonmouths surrendered four goals in the opening period losing 7-0 Saturday night to Pensacola.
For the second time in less than a week, the Snakes allowed seven or more goals in a game, dropping their fifth consecutive game overall . They are now in last place in the nine-team league.
Corey Banfield began the four-goal opening period for Pensacola, scoring a power-play goal 10 seconds into the man advantage. It was the first of two goals for Banfield. He finished with a game-high three points and leads all scorers in the SPHL with 21 goals.
Less than a minute apart from each other, Mark Rivera and Ludlow Harris picked up the second and third Pensacola goals.
"Pretty disappointed, it's not a lack of effort but more lack of focus," Columbus coach Jerome Bechard said. "Not sure if the guys are trying to be perfect all the time, end of the day the guys need to buy into what we are doing around here."
Without defenseman Andy Willigar (groin) and Martin Tuma (elbow), Snakes were once again forced to make adjustments on the blue line. Forward Chris Rial was also out of the lineup due to a concussion sustained in Friday night's 2-1 loss to Knoxville.
The scoring pace slowed down in the second with Pensacola adding two more goals in the second period, one by Stephen Buco and Cody Dion.
"Our execution on the simplest of plays isn't there, it's almost like I have bunch of guys on the ice doing whatever they want," Bechard said. "I thought after Friday's close loss in Knoxville we come back home and show some better push back."
With Shannon Szabados sitting out with a tweaked knee, Brandon Jaeger picked up his second straight start between the pipes, blocking 31 of 38 shots.
His counterpart, Keegan Admundson, earned his first start this season going a perfect 30 for 30 in shots blocked.
The biggest spark of the night from the Snakes bench came in the form of the flying fists with Al Graves and Patrick McCadden receiving fighting majors in the third.
"We need to begin playing as if we are in the playoffs because right now we are out," Bechard said. "The fights that happened in the third should have happened in the first. We don't necessarily need to fight, but we need a sense of urgency in some form of a push back."
Snakes return to home ice next Friday Feb. 5 against the Huntsville Havoc. Huntsville leads the season series 4-1.
Saturday at Columbus Civic Center
Pensacola 4 2 1--7
Columbus 0 0 0--0
First period--1, Pensacola, PP-Banfield (Caveney, Krieg) 6:25; 2, Pensacola, Rivera (Bergin, Buco) 12:29; 3, Pensacola, Harris (Blair) 12:43; 4, Pensacola, Banfield (Pawlick) 19:59; Penalties--Jackson, Columbus (Holding) 6:15; Caveney, Pensacola (Slashing) 16:53.
Second period--5, Pensacola, Buco (Segal) 7:52; 6, Pensacola, Dion (Cousineau, Harris) 14:04; Penalties--Graves, Columbus (Tripping) 9:03.
Third period--7, Pensacola, Pawlick (Banfield) 14:52; Penalties--Graves, Columbus (Equipment Violation) 0:01; Graves, Columbus (Fighting-Major) 0:01; Blair, Pensacola (Equipment Violation) 0:01; Blair, Pensacola (Fighting-Major) 0:01; McCadden, Columbus (Equipment Violation) 7:10; McCadden, Columbus (Fighting-Major) 7:10; Harris, Pensacola (Equipment Violation) 7:10; Harris, Pensacola (Fighting-Major) 7:10; Segal, Pensacola (High Sticking) 15:12.
Shots on goal: Pensacola 15-16-7; Columbus 16-3-11
Power plays: Pensacola 1 of 2; Columbus 0 of 2
Goaltenders: Pensacola, Asmundson (win) 60:00 16 3 11; Columbus, Jaeger (win-loss) 60:00 11 14 6
Referee: Fernandez. Linesman: Duncan, Crimaldi