Spiders hang on to claim DST victory in final game of the season

A rare game at Pleasant Arena led to an even more rare Spider victory.

The Spiders capped off the 2016–17 Winter Season on the day winter returned to the northland. At the home of St. Paul’s Figure Skating Association, the Spiders crammed themselves into a fish house dressing room built for five at Pleasant Arena. There’s a reason the AHA typically avoids scheduling games at this southern St. Paul outpost — it’s built for figure skating, and the hockey accommodations are a bit rustic.

The last time the C3/D1/D2 Spiders played here was all the way back in November 2007, when the Renegades clobbered the then new-to-D1 Spiders 9–1. Incidentally, that was Mike Johnson’s second-ever Spiders game!

But Sunday’s early start combined with Daylight Savings Time’s Spring Forward tradition had the Spiders springing early, with Jon Pappone getting the team on the board even before the full roster had arrived thanks to the post-February-summer March snowstorm.

Spiders vs. Shame on Ice

The Shame answered back on a fluky rebound goal four minutes later to tie it back up. But from there, the Spiders — backed by sub goalie Tom Degroote of the D1 Darkness — locked down the defensive zone (except for the occasional stick-handle through the crease). Both goalies played super solid, but it was the Spiders that found the difference maker in the back of the net late in the second coming off a penalty kill called by the usual curious penalty caller this season. This one came off the stick of Paul Berman, set up by LaCosse and Johnson. Spiders 2–1 with 1:37 remaining in the second.

The Spiders’ record for Daylight Savings weekend: 7–3–1.

DST Games
Season Game Result When Result
2006–07 3/10/2007 Spiders 8, Buccaneers 5 (day before) W
2007–08 3/11/2008 Spiders 1, Stars 3 (two days after) L
2008–09 3/8/2009 Spiders 2, Lumberjacks 3 (day of) L
2009–10 3/13/2010 Spiders 5, Wingmen 5 (day before) T
2010–11 3/13/2011 Spiders 3, Gold Rush 2 (day of) W
2011–12 3/10/2012 Spiders 6, Fighting Saints 3 (day before) W
2012–13 3/10/2013 Spiders 2, Fighting Saints 6 (day of) L
2013–14 3/8/2014 Spiders 4, Buccaneers 3 (day before) W
2014–15 3/8/2015 Spiders 4, Wolfpack 1 (day of) W
2015–16 3/13/2016 Spiders 3, Fighting Loons 1 (day of) W
2016–17 3/12/2017 Spiders 2, Shame On Ice 1 (day of) W

There was no mistaking the penalty calls after that, though the ref had to be convinced to put both parties in the box, including the Shame’s #51 K. Bartels, C3 West’s top goal-scorer (24 goals on the season). Curiously, when the third period started, Bartels was nowhere to be found, leaving a teammate to sit the final 89 seconds in the bin, apparently having skipped out for the third to play in the C3 North Stars/Wildcats game (where he’s in second place on the leader board in C3 North, at 17 goals on the season).

The Spiders would go on to put 12 shots on net in the third to the Shame’s 8, and killed off another curious penalty call late in the period. Degroote was solid, seeing the puck well and flashing the glove to lock up the victory.

Spiders vs. Shame on Ice

Locker room (actual size)

Spiders win: 2–1.

For the season, the Shame take the series 2–1. Lifetime going back to 2013–14, it’s Spiders 2, Shame 4.

It’s also another DST victory for the Spiders, who somehow find another gear on an hour less sleep.

On the season, the Spiders finish at 7–11–2, with 16 points, in ninth place (out of 10), one point behind the Gold Rush, who beat the Blade Runners Sunday to jump back into eighth. It’s a point less than the Spiders’ 2015–16 finish, 8–11–1, which was good enough for sixth place (out of 8). It’s the second consecutive season the Spiders have missed the playoffs, after having gone six in a row making the post-season.

It’s also the second consecutive season where the Spiders have had the top overall C3 team in their division. This time, the LED Nord take the C3-level crown with a 5–3 win over the second-place Arctic Wolves. The Nords finish with 33 points and a 15–2–1–2 record, having gone the first 15 weeks of the season without a regulation loss.

2016–17 C3 West Standings (Week 20)
  • y = clinched division
  • x = clinched playoff berth
Les Etoiles du Nord –y 20 15 2 1 2 33 85 44 54
Arctic Wolves –x 20 12 4 4 0 28 90 57 100
Icedogs –x 20 11 6 3 0 25 71 54 142
Black Ice –x 20 10 7 3 0 23 65 60 179
Silverbacks 20 9 7 3 1 22 64 58 82
Shame On Ice 20 9 9 1 1 20 66 59 112
Blade Runners 20 9 11 0 0 18 67 73 158
Gold Rush 20 7 10 2 1 17 54 82 94
Spiders 20 7 11 2 0 16 60 72 144
Scarlet Rebellion 20 1 18 1 0 3 33 96 94

The C3 West seedings were decided last week, but C3 East is still in week 18 thanks to the imbalanced AHA schedule this year. The AHA playoffs won’t get underway for over three weeks, sufficient time to accumulate skate rust, with the first C3 games on Wednesday, April 5, concluding with the C3 Championship Sunday, April 9 at BIG.

Next up for the Spiders, snow shoveling. Then golf.

For details, see the box score and game summary.

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