Spiders notch first moral victory of the season, tie first-place LED Nord 3–3

After quick start, the Spiders typical second period snooze made it a game; Spiders hit century marks

The huge crowd of fans Saturday afternoon at SLP W were treated to a hockey showcase, featuring endless hustle, crisp passing, hard checking. Then after the Benilde vs. St. Cloud Cathedral game was over, the Elling family saw the typical fare of AHA adult hockey.

St. Louis Park, Nov. 17, 2018.

But they at least got to see Rich Elling get his first of the season, on a perfect cross-ice dish from newly-promoted-to-left wing Mike Schroeder.

That was followed by David Schuster’s first of the season as well, as he beat the Nord’s goalie on a breakaway set up by Mike Johnson and Jeremy Litton, who notched his 100th career point on the play.

The referees, led by newly crowned C3 tier admin Mark Winters, recognizing the momentous occasion, stopped play and requested the arena lights to be brought down, and the lone spotlight lit the area surrounding the gathering near the Spiders bench, while a group of league officials conducted the time-honored ceremonial AHA Silver Stick award. As a slideshow of his 14 years in the AHA was projected onto the SLP arena scoreboard display, Litton began to see stars in his eyes in appreciation of the recognition, through all the hard work, the teammates and the sacrifices though the journey of 14 AHA seasons adding up over the years. As the Elling family finished their standing ovation, Litton quickly realized the stars in his eyes were from yet another can opener rag-dolling by #23 M. Blum behind the play, inexplicably overlooked by the refs, and he was instead now back to an even plus-minus as the Nords began their inevitable second-period comeback.

While the Spiders escaped the second period clinging to a one-goal lead, the “here we go again” groans started on the first shift of the third, as the Nords tied up the game. A bad change midway through the third, the Spiders’ second too-many-men whistle in three games, gave the Nords power play momentum, and though the Spiders killed it off, the Nords capitalized on a scrum and fallen defenseman in front of the Spider crease a minute later to go ahead by one with just under 5 minutes remaining.

Following a whistle at the 2:30 mark, the Spiders strategized on pulling the goalie, which they have down to a science now given the third-period score in the last two games. But, Dave Sommerness instead banged home the offensive zone faceoff past the Nord goalie to tie up the game, Dave’s first of the season (for the Spiders). Honorary assist to Bill McCormick for staying in the net!

In the waning seconds, the refs finally caught #23 M. Blum on his third slash during a puck chase to the corner, giving the Spiders the man advantage for the remainder of regulation, during which they got three shots on net and three offensive zone draws.

In the five-minute runtime clock OT, the Nords, assisted by the refs, did their best to run out the remaining power play time, by getting a couple shots on net as well as delaying setting up for faceoffs.

In a twist of fate, the refs sent the Spiders’ Brad Sutton to the box to finish out the game. Tonight’s game also represented a career milestone for Brad, 100 games in a Spider sweater! However, because of the extended time taken for the earlier on-ice ceremony, and the runtime OT clock, Sutton was just summarily escorted to the box rather than have his AHA Silver Stick presentation.

St. Louis Park, Nov. 17, 2018.

With just 44 seconds remaining, the refs were now very efficient in setting up faceoffs to preserve the Nord’s remaining 5-on-4 time. Following another couple shots on goal and by the 10-second mark, McCormick swallowed up the Nord puck for good to hold on for the Spiders’ first point of the season. A moral victory!

Final score: 3–3

With the tie, the Spiders climb out of the C3 East dungeon, notching a point and a 0–2–1 record heading into the Thanksgiving week bye.

And slightly improve the lifetime record against the Nords to 1–5–2 going back to 2015–16.

2018–19 C3 East Standings (Week 3)
Team GP W L T OTL P GF GA PIM
Royals 3 3 0 0 0 6 14 7 12
Moose 3 3 0 0 0 6 14 6 14
Maroons 3 2 0 0 1 5 11 7 37
Les Etoiles du Nord 3 2 0 1 0 5 15 10 4
Knights 3 2 1 0 0 4 9 8 8
Wildcats 3 1 2 0 0 2 10 16 10
Arctic Wolves 3 0 1 1 1 2 10 15 18
Spiders 3 0 2 1 0 1 7 10 16
Icedogs 3 0 2 1 0 1 6 11 18
Ak Bars 3 0 3 0 0 0 3 9 2

Next up, a rare Tuesday game, at the Woog (Wakota), vs. the IceDogs, who have an identical 0–2–1 record, following their tie of the Arctic Wolves on the same SLP W icesheet Saturday night.

The last time the Spiders played the IceDogs was February 2017, incidentally also at the Woog, which ended in the first shutout that season (not) for the Spiders. Lifetime though, it’s a series the Spiders have dominated, going 7–1 back to 2012–13.

Head to the house that Housley built, a week from Tuesday at 9:30 to watch the Spiders/IceDogs battle for the sole claim on C3 East 8th place.

Update:

The B3 Spiders also played the B3-equivalent LED Nord Sunday night, and incidentally, came out with the same result ... a 6-6 tie!

For details, see the box score and game summary.

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