Well, we broke through and chalked up a 'W'. It was bound to happen sometime. We played a really good game, one of the best I've seen from the Snakes. It was a very intense, very physical game...almost playoff intensity. The boys played well throughout, despite being held scoreless for the first 25 minutes of the game. We were trailing 2-0 when Scorin' Orrin Hergott dented the twine to close the gap to one goal. We continued to pressure the Ice Bears goal, firing a total of 51 shots on goal when all was said and done. Bears goalie Andrew Gallant looked good except for a 14 second span in the third which saw Jesse Cole and Matt Kinnunen find the back of the net in rapid succession. It was the first professional goal of Kinnunen's career, and would hold up as the game winner. The Snakes weathered a flurry of chances from the Ice Bears in the last half of the third to hang on for the victory, their first of the season. What a relief that was!
After our opening weekend, we needed a game like this one. We struggled offensively in the first two games, so it was nice to see the boys score some timely goals and also play solid defense in front of our goalie. Ian Vigier turned away 27 of 29 shots for the win, his first of the season.
Saturday, we hopped on the bus and headed for Huntsville to play the Havoc for the first time this season. They're the defending champions and look to be a strong contender to repeat. We got into Huntsville and unloaded the bus, then set about the task of preparing to play the game. We got in fairly early, which I don't like. It gives the guys too much time to think about stuff. They start looking at their sticks, their gear, their skates...and sometimes they decide this would be a good time to get their skates shapened. Sometimes sheer boredom can be a springboard to more work for me. I finish my work before we leave, so I don't want to do more busy work once we get there. I like it better when we pull in, unload, get dressed and play the game. It's better that way...just a quick in and out, hopefully two points better off in the standings.
For whatever reason, we started off slow. And that's something you can't afford to do against the Havoc. They work hard and they're very opportunistic. They'll jump on any chance you give them. Before we even shook out the bus legs the Havoc had jumped out to a 2-0 lead. We righted the ship in the second and battled back to close the gap in the third. But it was too little, too late. We lost 3-2, but again had some pretty good chances to tie things up. It was an encouraging effort against arguably the best team in the league.
Monday meant it was time to get back to work, preparing for 3 games in 3 nights (starting with a 10am start on Thursday, the infamous School Day game). We hit the ice light one skater. Brett Beauchamp was cut by the team before Monday's practice. Other than that, it was business as usual.
This is a short practice week to get ready for three pretty big games. Thursday's matinee features the first visit of the Fayetteville Fireantz. After that, we head back to Huntsville Friday night, then on the Knoxville Saturday night. I can't wait to see Fayetteville. Their Equipment Manager, Frank "Rizzo" Jury, is the grumpiest man in the league. I can't wait to see him bright and early for that 10am game. It should be quite a treat.