C3 2012–13 post-season recap
April 12, 2013
The C3 Spiders made their fifth consecutive April hockey appearance, turning in their least effective performance yet in the AHA playoff standings, notching only a single point out of the three games. But the Spiders did get to play spoiler, directly “controlling” the championship outcome.
The Spiders backed into the fourth and final seed on their 11–9–0–0 record, 22 points. The Spiders have made a habit of squeaking into the playoffs at the very last minute, this time thanks to the cellar-dweller IceDogs, entered the post-season with their own cellar-scraping record of all eight C3 playoff teams, a feat they managed last year as well as 2009–10.
Though not as long as last year’s 25-day hiatus between the end of the regular season and the playoffs, the Spiders and other East teams spent 18 days on Spring Break, while the West teams stayed active with games right up to the weekend before playoffs week.
First up for the Spiders, last year’s C3 champions and this year’s C3 East division title holders, the Moose. During the season, the Spiders had gone 1–2 against the Moose. And for 34 minutes, it looked to the seven fans in attendance at Braemar that it would be 1–3 by the end of the night. The entire first period was played in the Spiders’ end, with shots 6–1, and goals 1–0 for the Moose. The second featured the traditional playoff “Parade to the Penalty Box,” even more lopsided shot totals (12–3), and another Moose goal. But an early second period Sutton point shot’s puck had eyes and got the Spiders on the board. Down 2–1 going into the third, the Spiders forecheck finally arrived, and with just under 7 minutes to go, Lavigne found Freed from Gretzky’s office, and tied the game up. And after a flurry of activity, that’s where it would end, tied 2–2, and a point apiece in the standings.
For round two, the Friday matinee had everyone taking vacation from work to play hooky (er, hockey). The Wingmen were the third seed, from C3 West, and had lost in the first round to the Gold Rush 2–0. A large afternoon crowd gathered around the Olympic sheet at BIG to watch two teams with a long playoff history together. They’d have to watch with no gameclock though, as a scoreboard glitch had the scorekeeper using a sundial from the light streaming in from the rink 3 windows that always wreaks havoc on the ice conditions. By the time the scoreboard was rebooted, the Spiders defense needed a reboot too, as they had gotten the Spiders down 1–0. The Spiders caught back up midway through the first, with a Johnson sneaker goal to tie the game. But, their celebration lasted just 11 seconds, as the Wingmen capitalized on a 2-on-1 to go up by 1. In the second, Pappone tied it back up, before the Penalty Parade began in earnest in the third, and put the Spiders’ PK on the ropes, allowing the Wingmen to get their third goal and put away the game. Despite a few chances with an extra attacker, the Spiders went down in defeat 3–2 to the Wingmen.
The final game of the round robin was against the second-seed Gold Rush, from C3 West. They had split, beating the Wingmen but losing to the Moose 2–1 on BIG 3 Friday before the Spiders/Wingmen game. The Spiders went into the Saturday morning game knowing they had no chance to advance, with all three pool teams either having more wins (Gold Rush, Wingmen) or more tiebreaker advantages (Moose). Meaning the Spiders had nothing to lose... and nothing to win either. But the Gold Rush desperately needed a win to keep pace with the Moose. In front of the huge BIG 1 Saturday crowd and the TV camera taping the game, the Spiders started out playing a relaxed, have-fun style of hockey that served them well, getting up by two early in the game, thanks to the Henke, Vandenberghe, Droullard line. But penalty trouble exposed the Spiders’ PK, and the Gold Rush notched their first, then second. Special teams played into the Gold Rush’s third goal too, only this was of the shorthanded variety. A full-strength goal by each team put the score at 4–3 for the Gold Rush, where it would stay for most of the rest of the game. After a penalty parade second, the refs put their whistles away for the third so they could enjoy the game. With just under four minutes left on the Spiders’ season, the Gold Rush notched another to go up 5–3. The Spiders pulled the goalie for the extra attacker ... to guarantee the empty-netter. Final score: 6–3.
The late C3 game on BIG1 was the Wingmen vs. Moose. The C3 East-leading Moose controlled their own destiny. And just 30 seconds in, were up by 1, with the confidence to turn that into a win and a second consecutive invite to the BIG dance on Sunday. But best laid plans, even in the playoffs, sometimes run into stand-on-head goaltending. And the Wingmen’s Latack was no exception, denying chance after goalmouth chance, to keep the game close, turning away 29 of 30 shots. And finally, with just 3:45 left in the third, the Wingmen parlayed one of their only 14 shots into a goal, tying the game. The Moose pulled their netminder for the extra attacker, since a tie did them no good. The extra attacker did them no good either, and the game ended knotted at one apiece, as well as ending the Moose’s return to the championship.
Instead, the Gold Rush got the invite to the BIG dance Sunday at 12:15, to take on the C3 Pool B champion Fighting Saints, who clinched their invite after just two pool games.
The Spiders, who got only a single point in the playoffs, in essence are to blame for the Moose getting denied their chance to repeat. Plus the Spiders also gave the Gold Rush plenty of shooting practice for their Sunday game. The Gold Rush took care of business on the Fighting Saints, clobbering them 7–0, causing the BIG 2 game clock to switch to running time early in the third period.
There were plenty of Spider fans in the BIG 2 balcony, as the the late game was the C1 Spiders vs. the Fighting Piranhas for the C1 trophy. The crowd saw another shutout, though this one by just a one-goal margin, an exciting up-and-back game, with lots of close calls, stellar goaltending, and even an early penalty shot, dutifully denied by Spider veteran goaltender Dow. But, the Spiders couldn’t solve the other goalie either, and ended up losing the game 1–0. Trophy to C1 Fighting Piranhas.
2012–13 C3 Post-Season, by the numbers...
|* C3 Champions|
|Gold Rush (2)*||4||3||1||0||0||6||16||5||34||+11|
|Fighting Saints (3)||4||3||1||0||0||6||13||13||32||±0|
|Blade Runners (4)||3||1||2||0||0||2||7||8||20||-1|
|Fighting Piranhas (1)||3||0||2||1||0||1||8||13||25||-5|
|Date||Time||Arena||Pool||Home||Result (Home)||Away||Result (Away)|
|Wed., April 3||7:45 p.m.||Breck||B||Fighting Piranhas (#1)||1||Blade Runners (#4)||5|
|Wed., April 3||9:15 p.m.||Braemar S||A||Gold Rush (#2)||2||Wingmen (#3)||0|
|Wed., April 3||9:25 p.m.||Braemar W||A||Moose (#1)||2||Spiders (#4)||2|
|Wed., April 3||9:30 p.m.||Breck||B||Mastodons (#2)||1||Fighting Saints (#3)||5|
|Fri., April 5||1:00 p.m.||BIG 3||A||Moose (#1)||2||Gold Rush (#2)||1|
|Fri., April 5||2:45 p.m.||BIG 3||A||Wingmen (#3)||3||Spiders (#4)||2|
|Fri., April 5||4:15 p.m.||BIG 2||B||Fighting Piranhas (#1)||3||Mastodons (#2)||3|
|Fri., April 5||6:00 p.m.||BIG 2||B||Fighting Saints (#3)||3||Blade Runners (#4)||1|
|Sat., April 6||11:30 a.m.||BIG 1||A||Gold Rush (#2)||6||Spiders (#4)||3|
|Sat., April 6||1:15 p.m.||BIG 1||A||Moose (#1)||1||Wingmen (#3)||1|
|Sat., April 6||1:15 p.m.||BIG 2||B||Mastodons (#2)||4||Blade Runners (#4)||1|
|Sat., April 6||3:00 p.m.||BIG 2||B||Fighting Piranhas (#1)||4||Fighting Saints (#3)||5|
|Sun., April 7||12:15 p.m.||BIG 2||–||Fighting Saints (#3)||0||Gold Rush (#2)||7|
C3 playoff pools
Initial playoff seeding was as follows:
C3 Pool A (with regular season record):
- Moose (15–2–2–1; 33 pts.)
- Gold Rush (12–5–3–0; 27)
- Wingmen (12–6–2–0; 26)
- Spiders (11–9–0–0; 22)
C3 Pool B:
- Fighting Piranhas (15–3–1–1; 32)
- Mastodons (15–2–0–3; 33)
- Fighting Saints (14–6–0–0; 28)
- Blade Runners (11–7–2–0; 24)
And for posterity, the D1 results, as some of these teams may move up to C3 next year. The Fighting Loons knocked off the Silverbacks, who were back to claim their fourth consecutive trophy, having gone three years in a row taking home the hardware (Beginner in 2009–10, D2 in 2010–11, D1 in 2011–12).
|* D1 Champions|
|Fighting Loons D1 (2)*||4||3||0||1||0||7||7||3||16||+4|
|Northern Horde D1 (3)||3||1||2||0||0||2||4||5||29||-1|
|Mastodons D1 (1)||3||0||1||2||0||2||5||8||18||-3|
|Arctic Wolves (4)||3||0||2||1||0||1||2||6||18||-4|
|Date||Time||Arena||Home||Result (Home)||Away||Result (Away)|
|Wed., April 3||6:00 p.m.||BIG 3||Northern Horde D1||0||Silverbacks||3|
|Wed., April 3||7:45 p.m.||BIG 3||Mastodons D1||0||Arctic Wolves||0|
|Wed., April 3||9:30 p.m.||BIG 3||Fighting Loons D1||0||Wailers||0|
|Fri., April 5||1:15 p.m.||BIG 1||Northern Horde D1||4||Wailers||0|
|Fri., April 5||3:00 p.m.||BIG 1||Fighting Loons D1||3||Arctic Wolves||2|
|Fri., April 5||4:45 p.m.||BIG 1||Mastodons D1||1||Silverbacks||4|
|Sat., April 6||8:00 a.m.||BIG 2||Silverbacks||3||Arctic Wolves||0|
|Sat., April 6||9:45 a.m.||BIG 2||Fighting Loons D1||2||Northern Horde D1||0|
|Sat., April 6||11:30 a.m.||BIG 2||Mastodons D1||4||Wailers||4|
|Sun., April 7||8:45 a.m.||BIG 2||Silverbacks||1||Fighting Loons D1||2|
Initial D1 seeding:
- Mastodons D1 (18–1–0–1; 37 pts.)
- Fighting Loons D1 (15–4–1–0; 31)
- Northern Horde (13–4–2–1; 29)
- Arctic Wolves (10–7–2–1; 23)
- Silverbacks (10–7–1–2; 23)
- Wailers (9–7–3–1; 22)