Spiders enjoy afternoon nap, lose 4–3 or 5–3 to Fighting Piranhas

Despite impressive second-period almost-comeback, Spiders snoozefest ends in loss.

Duly noted: A 3 p.m. start falls right in the middle of the aging Spiders’ nap times. The eighth-place Fighting Piranhas (4–5–1–1; 10 pts.) took easy advantage of a flat-footed third-place Spiders (7–3–0–1; 15 pts.) crew Sunday at Aldrich in front of an impressive family-friendly crowd.

The game started late due to the 3:05 arrival of the scorekeeper. He joined the lone on-ice official, as the stripes partner was high-tailing his way to Maplewood from officiating an OT game in Plymouth.

The missing whistle would doom the Spiders late in the first, as the Fighting Piranhas scored on a two-on-one … or was it? Video review was inconclusive, and the out-of-position ref may have missed a crucial detail or “two.”

The Spiders were lucky to escape the first down by only one, as that was the same amount of shots they registered on the Piranha goaltender in the first period. And yes, Virginia, that ties the team record for fewest shots in a period. The previous time the Spiders were held to a single shot? You guessed it, Dec. 16, 2007, against the Fighting Piranhas.

The Spiders went to work in the second, trying to climb back into the game. And four minutes in, the Spiders tied the game back up thanks to an offensive zone owned by #72 (#17 Schwinn), assists at the near blue line from Vandenberghe, far blue line from Litton.

The Piranhas reclaimed the lead a minute later. Down 2–1, instead of rallying back into the game, the Spiders rallied back into their first period form, and watched amazed as the Piranhas notched two quick goals at 5:09 and 4:43, sinking the Spiders down 4–1 with under five minutes left in the second.

The next tally finally came from a Spider, as a grinding goal came off the stick of Berman at 2:23 remaining, who paid dearly in the crease for his efforts, assist to Mike “Be right back” Schroeder.

And, just a minute later, the almost-comeback was complete when Tim Byland rang up the Piranha goalie, assist to Farner, at 1:17, Spiders down by one, 4–3.

The first half of the third was relatively even, each team getting a chance or two. Then, a broken defensive play at 9:18 gave the Piranhas a two-goal lead.

From there, the Piranhas played like they really wanted the win. And would sacrifice positioning … and body parts, to protect the lead. Despite a three-minute possession in the Piranha zone, the Spiders’ shots were blocked, stopped or, apparently, sent mostly wide of the net.

Even with owning momentum and chances for the majority of the third, the Spiders then handed the game over late, first a Johnson hooking call, then LaCosse headed to the box after a bit too much of a “lean” next to the Spider net, putting the Spiders down to a 5-on-3 to run out the clock.

Total Spider shots did make their way back to a respectable 17 (1, 7, 9); and the Piranhas were even across the board — 8, 8, 9 for 25.

Total penalties: All Spiders, Lavigne in for consecutive sits, then Johnson and LaCosse got to discuss the weather during the 5-on-3.

2011–12 C3 Standings (Week 12 – updated)
Puck Hounds 12 10 2 0 0 20
Wingmen 12 9 2 0 1 19
Fighting Saints 12 7 4 1 0 15
Nighthawks 12 7 4 1 0 15
Spiders 12 7 4 0 1 15
Mintalar Moose 12 7 5 0 0 14
Fighting Piranhas 12 5 5 1 1 12
Royals 12 6 6 0 0 12
Maroons 12 5 6 1 0 11
Diablos 12 5 7 0 0 10
Lakers 12 4 8 0 0 8
Sled Dogs 12 4 8 0 0 8
Ak Bars 12 2 7 2 1 7
Fighting Ice Fish 12 3 9 0 0 6

Following the loss, the Spiders record falls to 7–4–0–1, still at 15 points, but likely no longer in 3rd place in the standings.

Fighting Piranhas climb to 5–5–1–1, 12 points, just outside of the sixth and final C3 playoff spot. And lifetime against the Fighting Piranhas, going back to the 2006–07 season, the Spiders are on the short end of the Koho, 2–6.

The Spiders will get a few days to rest up from their nap today, and head back to the ice Thursday night to face the Diablos (5–6; 10pts. and 10th place), thus avoiding having to play on Super Bowl Sunday. The Diablos and Spiders, however, have met in many a “Big Game” in both the teams’ histories.

The two teams last met — officially (not including a pre-season scrimmage in October) — in the final round-robin game of the 2010–11 playoffs, one that went the Diablos way and represented the first lost of the Spiders almost-perfect season last year. Lifetime, it’s all even at 3–3–1.

Thursday’s stakes will be trying to hold onto a slippery top-6 spot for the Spiders, and trying to move up in the standings for the Diablos.

A look at the Diablos roster holds some familiar names for Spider fans: Ryan Herman, who moved up to C2 last year, returned to C3 for this season; and Michael Armel, who took a year off from hockey last year, is also on the Diablos. Plus, longtime Diablo and one-time Spider Dave Schaefer.

Puck drops at Wakota Thursday night at 9:40 p.m., a start time far more familiar to the Spiders.

For details, see the box score and game summary.

Game media

Spiders vs. Fighting Piranhas – 1
Spiders vs. Fighting Piranhas – 5
Spiders vs. Fighting Piranhas – 6
Spiders vs. Fighting Piranhas – 7
Spiders vs. Fighting Piranhas – 8

The key to the Piranhas’ third-period shutdown.

Spiders vs. Fighting Piranhas – 9
Spiders vs. Fighting Piranhas – 10
Spiders vs. Fighting Piranhas – 11

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