Nighthawks swoop in on short-benched Spiders

Incredibly shrinking Spider bench couldn’t keep up with Nighthawks, lose 6–1, including 4 GA 3rd period.

The loss is Spiders’ first regular season regulation loss since the infamous March 7, 2010, “parade to the scoresheet” game vs. the Diablos, which incidentally is also last time Spiders lost by 5 goals.

Going into tonight’s game, the 11 skaters the Spiders were dressing knew they would be getting plenty of exercise. The 11 became 10 — just one full change (when no one in the penalty box) — when winger David Schuster left the game in the second period due to an “upper body” injury. The game went downhill from there, with the Spiders barely able to muster a forecheck or backcheck, let alone a breakout. By the third, the Nighthawks were shooting at will via their odd-man rushes. In all they would put up four goals in the third on 17 shots, giving goalie Bill McCormick plenty of work and little help in front. Even a timeout called with five minutes remaining only served to recharge the Nighthawks.

Total Nighthawks shots were a whopping 33 against (10, 16, 17), on the six goals. The last time the Spiders gave up 33 shots against was Dec. 6, 2009, also against the Diablos. Considering the all-around lack of skating, the Spiders were able to put an astonishing 26 (8, 9, 9) pucks on Nighthawks netminder Jenn (Colling) Stone, though she was solid for all but one.

That lone Spiders’ goal came in the first, tying the game up at one, by D-man Rick Fritz from the point, assist to Jason “Gamer” Freed. Freed defied doctors orders and skated tonight, though his two-game goal streak to start the season came to an end.

The Nighthawks gave the Spiders power play unit opportunities to get back in the game though, with #25 J. “I didn’t do anything” McDonald going for roughing in the first, and #25 J. “Idle Threat” McDonald going again for roughing in the third. The single Spiders’ penalty went to D-man Tim Byland, offsetting for slashing after a scrum by the net. The lack of bodies on the Spider bench though meant the defensive corps was down to just three.

With the loss, the Spiders will sit at 1–1–0–1, still with three points. From their perch at 4th place after week 2, they’ll drop considerably in the C3 standings, down to 7th just behind the Nighthawks, thanks to the usual regular-season tiebreaker rules.

Plus, the loss represents the first-ever Nighthawks win over the Spiders in Winter Season play. Going back to Spiders’ first-ever Winter Season win on Nov. 17, 2005, the Spiders have won all four matchups against the Nighthawks. The only Nighthawks victory over the Spiders came in the 2010 Fall Tourney, when the Nighthawks went on to win the trophy.

Next up, it’s the fourth Saturday night game in a row, this time against the 1–2 Maroons, back at SLP. The Maroons are coming off a 5–4 loss to the Diablos. Unlike the Nighthawks, the Maroons have had the Spiders’ number since 2005, with the Spiders going 2–4, with the first win coming in OT last December.

For details, see the box score and game summary.

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