Columbus Cottonmouths

Snakes roll on, defeating Mississippi 3-2

Three nights and three comeback wins.

The Columbus Cottonmouths picked up six points over the weekend, including two on Sunday by defeating the Mississippi RiverKings in 3-2 at the Columbus Civic Center.

The Snakes matched their season-high win streak of three games (Dec. 23-26-27 vs. Fayetteville, Huntsville and Pensascloa). This win streak comes on the heels of an eight-game losing streak.

The win allowed Columbus to move into eighth place by itself with 34 points. The Snakes are one point behind Lousiana.

"I think everything is starting to come together, guys are starting to believe and play for each other," Columbus coach Jerome Bechard said. "There's guys out there blocking shots who don't normally block shots, taking and making hits."

Both teams entered Sunday's contest playing their third game in as many nights, and the bus legs showed up early with Mississippi and Columbus combining for just six shots on goal through 10 minutes of the first period.

Fifteen minutes into the first period, Cullen Bradshaw finally broke through with a power-play goal, just his second goal of the season, to give the RiverKings a 1-0 lead.

Columbus scored the equalizer when Chris Rial threw a shot on net notching his team-leading 10th goal of the season 62 seconds into the second period.

Bradshaw struck again, scoring at 14:16 of the second period, giving the RiverKings a one-goal advantage.

A little more than a minute later, Columbus' Patrick McCadden scored the second equalizer of the night, taking advantage of an odd-man rush to tie the game at 2-2.

The score remained tied at two until Cottonmouths newcomer Chad Bennett, in just his sixth game, scored the eventual game-winning goal at 9:32 of the final period, completing the 3-2 come-from-behind victory.

"Bennett's an unknown, who does a lot of the little things right, always on the right side of the puck and if not he's working his butt off to get there," Bechard said." "(It) was great to see him get rewarded."

Down for the first time, Mississippi's Leo Thomas appeared to score a game-tying goal, but it was waved off after it was deemed to be re-directed in mid-air on its way to the back of the net.

In goal for his fourth consecutive game, Columbus' Brandon Jaeger stopped 37 of 39 shots, picking up his third straight win while his counterpart Garrett Sheehan blocked 16 of 19 shots.

"Huge weekend picking up the six points exactly when we needed them," Bechard said. "We have to worry about ourselves and if we continue doing the little things, we'll give ourselves an opportunity to win."

Columbus has just two games remaining in February: Friday at Fayetteville and Feb. 27 at Louisiana. The next home game is March 5 against Macon.

Sunday at Columbus Civic Center

Mississippi 1 1 0--2

Columbus 0 2 1--3

First period--1, Mississippi, PP-Bradshaw (Grace) 15:24; Penalties--Cook, Mississippi (Hooking) 0:47; Henry, Columbus (Hooking) 14:43.

Second period--2, Columbus, Rial (Freeman) 1:02; 3, Mississippi, Bradshaw (Marcuz) 14:16; 4, Columbus, McCadden (Hafner) 15:11; Penalties--Shapiro, Columbus (Hooking) 1:49; Johnson, Columbus (Hooking) 14:31; Bradshaw, Mississippi (Diving/Embellishment) 14:31.

Third period--5, Columbus, Bennett (Henry) 9:32; Penalties--McKinlay, Columbus (Slashing) 1:46; Marcuz, Mississippi (Tripping) 7:21; Graves, Columbus (Hooking) 13:40;

Shots on goal: Mississippi 10-13-16; Columbus 3-11-5

Power plays: Mississippi 1 of 4; Columbus 0 of 2

Goaltenders: Mississippi, Sheehan (loss) 58:23 3 9 4; Columbus, Jaeger (win) 60:00 9 12 16.

Referee: Dre Barone. Linesman: Duncan, Locicero.

Time: 2:15

Attendance: 1,532