Spiders, Royals skate to stalemate

Each team gets a point in the playoff standings.

The Spiders met the Royals tonight in a D1/C2 doubleheader at Augsburg. The #4 seed D1 Spiders, first on the regulation Rink A ice, dug themselves a hole against the #2 seed D1 Royals, but eventually climbed back out for the tie. The #1 seed C2 Spiders played at 9:30, and couldn’t quite find solve the #3 seed C2 Royals goalie, going down 3–2.

The C2 Spiders did have the post-game luxury of a changing room, whereas the D1 squad had sweaty social hour sans clothes with the Chaos, Ice Gators and Royals, thanks to the minimal Augsburg facilities.

In the D1 game itself, the Spiders got on the board first, on a breakaway by Luke Baker, helpers to LaCosse and Heitzman. The momentum seemed to be going their way when #19 on the Royals got called for a trip at 9:35. That momentum changed in 9 seconds, when the Royals #1 scorer Gorder took off on the first clear flipped past the blue line, and demonstrated to the Spiders why he is the Royals’ leading scorer. Tie game.

The remainder of the first had the Spiders getting their requisite penalty-box sits, with Pettengill, Flannery and LaCosse all getting a rest. The PK units didn’t get any rest, however, as the second pair resulted in just over a minute of 5-on-3. But they finally figured out how to play the triangle, and held off all chances.

In the second, the Royals capitalized at 13:05, taking the lead, 2–1. The Spiders answered back at 7:54, on a breakout led by D Droullard, who allowed the Spiders to press the zone, and followed the play, picking up Johnson’s blocked shot and flipping it over the netminder Butler. Tie game, again. But it didn’t last, due to a shot block in the Spiders’ end leading to an 3-on-0 for the Royals, taking the lead again at 2:48 remaining in the second.

The Spiders came out on all cylinders in the third, generating chance after chance, eventually tallying 14 shots on goal to the Royals 7 in the third. Only one found its way to the twine, a hard-work goal by Flannery, assist to Heitzman. Despite the flurry of chances the rest of the period, the Royals’ Butler was solid for all of them, and kept the game knotted at 3 apiece.

On the other end, Obermoller got her much-needed work in, making save after save to keep the Spiders in the game, seeing 25 shots (11, 7, 7). The Spiders’ eventual total was 32 (8, 10, 14).

Due to AHA round-robin rules, the game ends promptly after three frames, regardless of the score, and regardless that there was 17 minutes of ice time remaining on the lease.

With the tie, paired with Tuesday’s loss to the Chaos, the Spiders would’ve remained in the basement of the Pool B standings. However, the other D1 Pool B game tonight, also at Augsburg, had the Chaos over the Ice Gators 4–2, which means the Spiders climb to third. Regardless, at this point, the post-season tiebreakers (see sidebar) will not do the Spiders any favors, unless of course it gets to the coin toss.

Current D1 Pool B post-season standings:

D1 Pool B Standings (as of April 8, 2010)
Chaos D1 2 2 0 0 0 4 7 3 16
Royals D1 2 1 0 1 0 3 4 3 6
Spiders D1 2 0 1 1 0 1 4 6 20
Ice Gators 2 0 2 0 0 0 2 5 12

Next up, the final round-robin game, and potentially the final game of the post-season for the Spiders. The Spiders meet up for a matinee with the #3 seed Ice Gators (14–5–1; 29 pts.) at 2:15 p.m. on Saturday at St. Louis Park. The Spiders and Ice Gators have met only twice, both in the playoffs last season, where the Spiders won 4–2 in the round robin, and pulled a 3–0 shutout in the D1 Pool Championship.

For details, see the box score and game summary.

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