Spiders’ comeback not enough, season ends with 4–3 loss to Puck Hounds

In Saturday’s second game, the Spiders dug themselves a hole deeper than the gouges in the well-worn BIG 3 ice surface, and their third period comeback couldn’t close the deal.

Well-rested after this morning’s win over the Nighthawks, the Spiders returned the same dressing room that most of the team used in the earlier game. Also the same, the ice surface, which hadn’t improved during the course of the three games played on BIG 3 after the Spiders/Nighthawks. However, this morning’s crowd of six, turned into 30+ (some toting cowbells! and at least one “circle me” fan sign!) for what would be the final game of the season for both the Puck Hounds and Spiders.

As it turned out, the game would’ve been key in figuring the C3 Final teams ... if the Spiders won. With the Nighthawks beating the Wingmen 4–2, and the Fighting Piranhas beating the Moose 4–1, the Sunday berth would’ve been the Spiders for the taking, had the final score been two goals in the Spiders’ favor. But the same could be said for other teams, and after three games in 20 hours, the Spiders didn’t have much left in the tank, and came up against a hungry Puck Hounds team desperate to erase their post-season donut.

The Puck Hounds opened the scoring late in the first, and piled on early in the second, first with a power play goal off a defender’s skate, then on a giveaway, making it 3–0, and making the Spiders look like they hadn’t shown up.

The Spiders finally woke up midway through the period to answer back, as Schwinn finally got his breakaway goal, after numerous attempts over the weekend, assists to Pappone and Litton.

On the ensuing faceoff, the Puck Hounds reclaimed their three-goal advantage off a lucky bounce of a Spider stick and a goaltender’s helmet.

It wasn’t until nine minutes into the third that the Spiders’ offense kick-started the comeback, with Freed from Pettengill closing the gap to 4–2.

During the kill from a Schroeder penalty, the PK unit went to work on the offense, and generated at least 5 chances. And as soon as the penalty expired, Johnson, channeling the #FlyingV, flopped on a loose puck at the far side of the goal mouth and brought the Spiders to within a goal, assist to Fritz.

With the four minutes and change left on the BIG 3 clock, the Spiders made plenty of valiant efforts to convert, and McCormick made plenty of gorgeous glove saves to keep the team in the running. The Spiders eventually calling timeout at 1:50 remaining, and pulled McCormick for the extra attacker at a minute. With several chances, eventually the puck was tied up along the far boards by two Hounds in a tactic reminiscent of pre-2004 NHL puck freezes. By the time the puck squirted free, the buzzer had sounded, and the Spiders had lost 4–3.

2011–12 Playoffs C3 Standings
Team GP W L T OTL P GF GA Diff
Fighting Piranhas 3 3 0 0 0 6 12 2 +10
Mintalar Moose 3 2 1 0 0 4 11 10 +1
Nighthawks 3 1 2 0 0 2 8 8 ±0
Spiders 3 1 2 0 0 2 9 10 -1
Wingmen 3 1 2 0 0 2 6 11 -5
Puck Hounds 3 1 2 0 0 2 9 14 -5

The Spiders were outshot by the biggest margin of the weekend, putting 19 on Guarneri (5, 5, 9), and the Hounds shot 26 at McCormick (9, 9, 8).

The Spiders close out the playoff weekend with a 1–2 record and a -1 goal differential, which qualifies them for golf season. Or at least beers in the BIG parking lot.

The C3 final Sunday will see the Fighting Piranhas and Mintalar Moose rematch their Saturday afternoon game, where the Fighting Piranhas won 4–1. That puck will drop at 10:45 a.m. at BIG 2.

The Spiders are also cheering on their C2 brethren, who will face the Zephyrs tonight in the C2 semi-final.

Next up for the Spiders ... a full night’s sleep.

For details, see the box score and game summary.

Game media

Thanks to Farner Fotos as well as Litton Media for game photos.

April 14, 2012, Puck Hounds vs. Spiders
April 14, 2012, Puck Hounds vs. Spiders
April 14, 2012, Puck Hounds vs. Spiders
April 14, 2012, Puck Hounds vs. Spiders

The ref sustains damage from a dump-in on a third-period faceoff.

April 14, 2012, Puck Hounds vs. Spiders

Rick Fritz (19) announces Mike Johnson’s third-period goal.

April 14, 2012, Puck Hounds vs. Spiders
April 14, 2012, Puck Hounds vs. Spiders
April 14, 2012, Puck Hounds vs. Spiders
April 14, 2012, Puck Hounds vs. Spiders
April 14, 2012, Puck Hounds vs. Spiders

The final puck battle along the Hounds’ zone boards.

April 14, 2012, Puck Hounds vs. Spiders
April 14, 2012, Puck Hounds vs. Spiders

Spider fans filled the BIG 3 bleachers to cheer on their team.

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