The Columbus Cottonmouths dropped their sixth straight game Friday night, losing 5-2 to Huntsville at the Columbus Civic Center.
The Snakes allowed three third-period goals and are one loss shy of tying their season-high losing streak of seven.
With a bevy of roster moves made just before the start of Friday night's game, the Columbus lineup had a number of fresh faces on the ice. Columbus was without three of its top forwards as Shawn Bates (Gwinnett), Louis Belisle (Wheeling) and Tyler Henry (Brampton, Ontario) all were loaned to teams in the ECHL this weekend. The trio has combined for almost 37 percent of the Snakes' scoring offense this season with a combined 29 goals.
In their void the club signed 28-year old defenseman John Hubbard and forwards Josh Richards and Chad Bennett. Hubbard and Richards hail from Fort Benning, while Bennett was just recently named the Federal Professional Hockey League's player of the week.
"Losing that trio is bad timing, but we can't hold the guy's progression from moving up the ranks," Columbus coach Jerome Bechard said. "It's also a chance for some of the unproven guys in the locker room to put their skills to the test and cement themselves on this hockey team."
Huntsville's Jackson Brewer scored the first of two first-period goals off a beautiful assist from behind the net by Justin Tateson. Joshua Ranalli made it 2-0 when he was left all alone in front of the crease.
Playing for the third consecutive game, Snakes goaltender Brandon Jaeger dropped his sixth straight decision. He blocked 29 of 33 shots.
"Jag played well enough to win, he made a couple of unbelievable saves off turnovers to keep us within reach," Bechard said. "It wasn't pretty, but we worked hard scratching and crawling our way back in it."
Columbus finally broke through with 3:44 left in the second period when Hubbard notched his first goal.
In the third, Huntsville scored two more goals -- by Michael Zannella and Scott Henegar -- to take a 4-1 lead. Ben O'Quinn scored the Snakes goal at 18:03. John McGinnis scored an empty-netter for the Havoc.
"We built some momentum there in the second only to hit the self-destruct button turning the puck over in the third," Bechard said. "Another unforced turnover and the third goal was the game."
Snakes are back in action Saturday night with a road
contest in Macon then return to the Columbus Civic Center for a Sunday matinee against Louisiana at 4 p.m.
Friday at Columbus Civic Center
Huntsville 2 0 3--5
Columbus 0 1 1--2
First period--1, Huntsville, Brewer (Tateson) 10:56; 2, Huntsville, Ranalli (unassisted) 18:31; Penalties--LeBlanc, Huntsville (Slashing) 15:50.
Second period--3, Columbus, Hubbard (McCadden) 16:12; Penalties--Hubbard, Columbus (High Sticking) 3:44.
Third period--4, Huntsville, Zannella (Ranalli) 8:13; 5, Huntsville, Henegar (LeBlanc) 9:23; 6, Columbus, O'Quinn (Johnson) 18:03; 6, Huntsville, McGinnis (Empty Net) (unassisted) 19:11; Penalties-Graves, Columbus (Slashing-Major) 19:25.
Shots on goal: Huntsville 10-14-10; Columbus 11-6-9
Power plays: Huntsville 0 of 2; Columbus 0 of 1
Goaltenders: Huntsville, Genoe (win) 60:00 11 5 8; Columbus, Jaeger (loss) 59:25 8 14 7
Referee: Sean Fernandez. Linesman: Duncan, Kuerston.