Snake-bit Spiders bit by snakes (and bears)

Spider power play short-circuited a new franchise record three times.

The Spiders trudged their way in the early December blizzard to St. Paul’s historic East Side and colder-than-outdoors Harding Arena, for only the second time in team history. The last time was way back in 2008, when the Spiders beat the Fighting Saints 7–2.

In the holiday spirit, for the first time in Spider history, however, the team gave up three shorthanded goals in a game, including two on the first power play drawn on the second shift of the game. The Ak Bars, a well-known frequent two-minute sit team, gave themselves plenty of opportunity to capitalize on the PK, getting whistled seven times by C3 tier admin/ref Mark Winters and crew.

Down 3-zip, with the Ak Bars’ #25 Anderson notching a natural hat trick to cap his two shorties, the Spiders’ offense finally got a jumpstart with one minute to go in the first, with Paul Berman from Grotbeck.

That duo did it again later in the second to pull the Spiders within one. A 5-on-3 for the Spiders, thanks to the Ak Bars’ usual suspect #47 Pavel Zakharov showing off his recklessness prowess, thankfully did not result in another shorty, but instead a goal for the home team, Andres for his first of the season, from Farner, and Bill “Al Stalock” McCormick setting up the play from the hashmarks. The ref actually stopped play to make sure the goaltender knew he was on the scoresheet.

With three unanswered goals and a tie game, and still on the 5-on-4 power play, the Spiders were busy congratulating themselves, only to be rudely interrupted by yet another shorthanded goal. At least it wasn’t #25 Anderson this time.

After Elling got called for a trip late in the second, and thanked by #47 for his efforts, the Spiders came close to notching their own shorthanded goal on the ensuing power play.

Following the Ak Bars captain’s apologies at the break to the Spiders’ captain for his team’s antics, the Ak Bars sunk the backbreaker halfway through, with #25 Anderson making his hat trick Texas-sized, the second Texas Hat Trick given up by the Spiders this week. And despite the Spiders finally having a full bench, and the Ak Bars dressing only 10 skaters, it was the Spiders who ran out of gas, unable to convert their chances in the third. Down two, the Spiders pulled the goalie with under two minutes, but ended up getting called for a no-look behind-the-back-interference-while-playing-the-puck penalty by ref Winters.

Rule 625: A player cannot use his/her body (“pick” or “block”) to impede the progress of an opponent with no effort to play the puck, maintain normal foot speed or established skating lane.

That forced the Spiders to return the goalie to the ice and wiped out hopes of scoring with the extra attacker. To add insult to injury, and another two PIM to the Ak Bars total of 14 on the evening, the Ak Bars Texas hat tricker #27 was inexplicably called for a slash in front of the Spider net at the buzzer, not even giving themselves enough time to score a fourth shorty.

2018–19 C3 East Standings (Week 5 – so far)
Les Etoiles du Nord 5 4 0 1 0 9 21 13 10
Moose 5 4 1 0 0 8 21 10 22
Maroons 4 3 0 0 1 7 14 9 37
Knights 4 3 1 0 0 6 13 9 16
Royals 4 3 1 0 0 6 15 11 16
Ak Bars 5 2 3 0 0 4 15 17 18
Icedogs 5 1 3 1 0 3 14 21 49
Arctic Wolves 4 0 2 1 1 2 15 22 30
Wildcats 5 1 4 0 0 2 14 23 16
Spiders 5 0 4 1 0 1 14 21 28

Final score: 5–3 Ak Bars

Yet another loss means the Spiders further cement their lock on last place, dropping to 0–4–1 on the season. And give the Ak Bars, now 2–3, the edge in the 14-year series, of 6–5–1–1 dating back to 2005–06.

Spiders at the five-game mark
Season Level Record
2018–19 C3 0–4–1–0
2017–18 C3 2–1–1–1
2016–17 C3 2–3–0–0
2015–16 C3 2–3–0–0
2014–15 C3 2–3–0–0
2014–13 C3 2–3–0–0
2012–13 C3 3–2–0–0
2011–12 C3 2–2–0–1
2010–11: D1 5–0–0–0
2009–10: D1 1–4–0–0
2008–09: D1 3–0–2–0
2007–08: D1 1–4–0–0
2006–07 D2 4–1–0–0
2005–06 D2 1–4–0–0
2004–05 Bg 0–5–0–0

At the quarter mark of the 2018–19 season, the winless Spiders have one lone point in the standings, the worst start for a Spiders team since Beginner School.

Next up, the Spiders take on the Royals, another team the Spiders have faced often dating back to 2005–06. This franchise series is not so close, with the Royals dominating the Spiders over the years, with the Spiders going 6–11–2. Though the last time was in the 2015–16 season, a 4–3 loss for the Spiders, and incidentally, the last time the Spiders were called for a no-look behind-the-back-interference-while-playing-the-puck penalty in the waning minutes of the game, by ref Winters.

Puck drop is Sunday afternoon at a family-friendly time of 4:45 at Richfield. Come watch the Spiders attempt to get their first win of the season by requesting to decline all power plays.

For details, see the box score and game summary.

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