Spiders freeze Lakers 6–4 at the fair

Spiders, Lakers play for the vaunted 64-oz Fresh French Fries Cup at State Fair Coliseum.

Coming off a loss last week to the Moose, the Spiders looked to get back in the win column against another former teammate’s team, former Spider Mike “Monty” Montgomery and the Lakers. And like last week, the vicious banter spilled over to social media.

Today’s game was an up-and-back affair in front of the mostly empty 5,250 seats of the Lee & Rose Warner Coliseum. Had those seats been filled, the throng would’ve witnessed an exciting C3-level game, with plenty of offense, plenty of McCormick saves, too many C3-level in-their-own-zone turnovers, and too many bone-jarring body checks (in a non-checking league...).

State Fair Coliseum

Monty’s body check on Litton.

The lone Spider goal in the first period came from a blue-ribbon C C. Pettengill snipe, at 6:23 remaining, assist to RW Johnson, and Johnson’s gloves, and getting the Spiders on the giant Coliseum scoreboard first.

The Lakers answered back late in the first to tie the game back up. Despite outshooting the Lakers 15–5 in the first, the score remained tied at the horn. (That 15-shot first period ties the season shots-by-period high, first set at the Coliseum vs. the Sled Dogs in that game’s second period.)

C Andy Schwinn set the tone early in the second with a thrilling breakaway, and doing what Schuster couldn’t last week — getting the puck through the five hole. Spiders 2–1. But the lead wouldn’t last for long, as the Lakers answered back a minute later to tie the game.

It would take another five minutes, but the Spiders’ defensive zone breakout turned into a goal at the 9:42 mark, from a Litton jump-ball hand pass in the Spider slot, broken out by LW Freed, crashed into the Laker slot by C C. Vandenberghe, who passed the puck right back up the gut to D Litton, who fired it through traffic as he was body-checked to the ice by a Laker forward (no, not Monty), and Schuster got his BASE™ stick on it to deflect it through a Freed screen, to regain the lead 3–2. Score it Schuster, from Litton and Vandenberghe.

State Fair Coliseum

Pettengill’s second-period goal.

The Spiders’ continued offensive pressure in the second resulted in the State Fair “Use the Bean, Keep it Clean” garbage cleanup goal of the day, Pettengill getting the last whack as he and LW Farner and RW Johnson had collapsed on the crease to sweep up the loose pucks. Spiders 4–2.

The dreaded two-goal lead wouldn’t last, as a collection of white Spider jerseys in its own zone was as crowded as Machinery Hill on the Sunday before Labor Day, and the turnover was easy pickings for the lone Laker forward, who sniped an wide-open net to close within one.

At 4:10 remaining in the second, the Lakers began their 4H Livestock Parade to the Bin, and it took less than a minute for the Spiders’ power play to find the back of the net, Freed from Schuster.

The second closed out with a seeing-eye Cheese Curd on a Stick chance for Pappone, who barely missed the top shelf.

Opening the third, the Freed/Vandenberghe/Schuster line would put the icing on the Minnesota Honey Producers cake, Schuster from Freed and Vandenberghe. Spiders 6–3.

The Laker penalty parade resumed in the third, as the Spiders were handed just under a minute of a 5-on-3. But due to distraction from the Spider bench, the point blasts from D Byland weren’t getting through. And a Johnson on-the-doorstep, wide-open, Culligan Hydration Station Free Water no-goal sailed high, closing out the power play opportunity.

At 7:39 remaining, D Fritz was called for a trip after a puck race behind the Spider net, and gave the Lakers two minutes to try to pull back within one. But the Spider PK crowded the Lakers out of the slot like the line at Sweet Martha’s. The PK was effective, but the subsequent 5-on-5 was not, as the Lakers capitalized again, moving back within two within five minutes remaining.

But the Lakers’ #22 Bateman got his Hat Trick (of penalties, drawn as usual by Vandenberghe) and put the Lakers on their PK heels instead for half the remaining clock. Back at full strength, the Lakers called a timeout at 1:37 to prepare for pulling the goalie, and for the Spiders to prepare their defensive strategy. And as the saying goes, the best defense is a good offense. So once the Lakers pulled their netminder, they never set up in the Spider zone, and instead the Spiders locked the neutral zone, and ultimately controlled the play, with C Schwinn going for a walk down the Midway with the puck long enough to wind down the clock.

Final score: 6–4.

Update: Ak Bars off the schnide!

2011–12 C3 Standings (Week 11 – updated)
Puck Hounds 11 9 2 0 0 18
Wingmen 11 8 2 0 1 17
Spiders 11 7 3 0 1 15
Mintalar Moose 11 7 4 0 0 14
Nighthawks 11 6 4 1 0 13
Fighting Saints 11 6 4 1 0 13
Maroons 10 5 5 1 0 11
Fighting Piranhas 11 4 5 1 1 10
Royals 11 5 6 0 0 10
Diablos 11 5 6 0 0 10
Sled Dogs 11 4 7 0 0 8
Lakers 11 4 7 0 0 8
Fighting Ice Fish 11 3 8 0 0 6
Ak Bars 11 1 7 2 1 5

With this win, the Spiders get back in the win column, and improve to 7–3–0–1 on the season, good enough for second place (for the time being, until the weekend’s C3 results come in) to hold on to third place behind the Wingmen and Puck Hounds. The Lakers fall to 4–7, and down a notch to 11th or two to 12th from 10th place. Lifetime, the series stands at 2–1 in favor of the Spiders.

Next up

Next up for the Spiders, a matinee at Aldrich against the Fighting Piranhas. Currently in 8th place, the Fighting Piranhas and Spiders have a long history going back to the 2006–07 season, with a lifetime record of 2–5 in favor of the Piranhas.

The last time the two teams met — a 4–2 Spider upset of the then first-place Piranhas — was one for the record books, racking up a new high mark for total number of penalties by both teams combined (16 total penalties, for 32 PIM), and tying the most penalties per game by the Spiders (10, for 20 PIM).

For details, see the box score and game summary.

Game media

Spiders vs. Lakers, Jan. 22, 2012 – 1

Schuster breakout

Spiders vs. Lakers, Jan. 22, 2012 – 2

Schwinn draw.

Spiders vs. Lakers, Jan. 22, 2012 – 3

Monty (96) patrolling for Litton.

Spiders vs. Lakers, Jan. 22, 2012 – 4

The Spiders’ D laying down on the job…

Spiders vs. Lakers, Jan. 22, 2012 – 5

…Leading to a Laker in all alone on McCormick, who made the save.

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