Well, our first weekend is in the books. We started off well with a 4-1 opening night victory over the visiting Fayetteville Fireantz. We looked good from top to bottom, offense to defense. Our Captain, Craig Stahl (aka "The Chief"), notched a Gordie Howe Hat Trick (One goal, one assist, one fight) and played like the young buck we all know and love. Goaltender Ian Vigier looked sharp, the defense played solidly in front of him, and the young forwards were buzzing around all over the place. All in all, it was a great way to start the season.
The second game couldn't have been more different, aside from the uniforms the teams were wearing. Steve Bounds got the start in goal and gave up 4 goals in the first 2 periods. He wasn't solely to blame...the whole team looked terrible for the first 40 minutes. Everything that we had done so well only the night before suddenly seemed beyond our capabilities. It was as if we had dressed a high school team in our uniforms and sent them out to do the job for us. We came back in the 3rd and battled for 3 goals, but finished one short in a 4-3 loss.
The loss spelled the end of the road for Steve Bounds with the Cottonmouths. He didn't look bad, but Beech just didn't feel that he was the man for the job. So now we're down to 2 goalies; Chad Rycroft and Ian Vigier. That brings us down to the required 18-man roster.
Monday began the process of preparing for this weekend's games against the Knoxville Ice Bears, with practice every day. We've had a pretty intense rivalry with the Bears during my 2 years here, and I expect that to continue despite the departure of Bears Head Coach Scott Hillman to Missouri of the CHL. They come in Friday night for a 7:30pm tilt and stay over for a 1pm matinee on Saturday. This is pretty unheard of: I've seen hockey teams play day games before (usually a 10 or 11 am school day game), but never following a night game the night before. It should be interesting to see how the guys from both teams respond to the short rest. On the plus side, a day game means we get to the bar that much earlier (although we have to clear out our locker room Saturday after the game to make room for Styx and REO Speedwagon on Sunday. I'm looking forward to seeing the concert, but not to clearing out Saturday and then having to move back in for Monday's practice. Anyway, big weekend ahead. I can't wait to get started!