Last night the Snakes were in the middle of a heck of a playoff game...until the referee decided to leave his mark on the game. With about nine minutes remaining in regulation and the score tied at 2, Geoffrey Miller handed the #1 ranked power play a 2-man advantage. Matt Zultek scored on the ensuing power play and thus the game was changed. Nick Klaren added an insurance goal 2 minutes later to make the final score 4-2.
I think they snuck the fourth goal past Snakes goalie Ian Vigier because he was still in shock about the third goal. He had made about 30 saves, some of them incredible, up to that point and then the Zultek shot was one of those that few goalies would have stopped. I think that after standing on his head for 2 1/2 periods, giving up that goal deflated his spirit a little bit. I can't blame him for that...I know it deflated mine. The boys had killed off 1:44 of a 5-on-3 advantage to the best power play in the league, only to see the Surge score with 16 seconds remaining.
After that, the Surge held the fort and the Snakes were unable to close the gap. It was a tough game to lose. To be that close and have the game slip away like that is never easy, but especially not in the playoffs. Every little play is so important. One bounce, one call, one break going your way can change the whole complexion of the game. That is why playoff hockey is the most exciting sport in the world...and the most nerve-wracking.
After the game, we had a quick meal (thanks to the Snakes Booster Club), then packed and loaded the bus for the trip to Biloxi. We got on the road fairly quickly and made good time along the way (thanks to Tex, the Snakes' bus driver), actually beating the Surge back to the Mississippi Coast Coliseum (even with the Surge getting a head start). We hung the gear and headed to the hotel to get some rest.
We got up and had a nice team meal at the hotel, and now the boys are back to resting up and getting ready for the game tonight. I'm heading down to the rink soon to finish setting up the locker room and sharpen some skates. Come on, boys! We need this one tonight!