Back to Back: Spiders tame Wildcats 5–2 on DST Day
Nov. 3, 2019
The Spiders avoided Falling Back into their not-winning ways of last season by stringing two consecutive victories together for the first time since Jan. 13, 2018.
The Spiders headed back to Hopkins for the second consecutive week, to face off against the Wildcats on DST Day. The Wildcats got a much-needed bye the first week of the season, so this was their game 1, featuring a retooled roster with new captain and new goalie.
The Spiders came ready to play and controlled the game from the drop of the puck, with Eric Grotbeck tallying a near-side snipe on a breakaway set up by Berman from Andres, on their first shift.
The remainder of the first had the Spiders peppering the goalie, except during a two-minute reprieve after Litton was flagged for high-sticking.
In the second, another second-shift goal put the Spiders up by 2, with a rim-around from Litton to Vandenberghe to O’Connor at the left point, who sent it to the far side of the net, for his first of the season.
A minute and a half later, Grotbeck reprised his same goal as the first period, from Andres and McCormick.
On the following face-off, Paul Berman, playing under the weather, got his first of the season on a patented Berman Snipe™, assists to Grotbeck and Schroeder. Spiders 4-zip and over half a game to go.
The Wildcats finally answered back to pull within 3, thanks to one of their new players having distracted the Spiders by strategically wearing Spider home socks. And Andres was whistled for a mid-ice trip stopping a breakaway, which the Spiders dutifully killed off.
Early in the third, Mike Johnson broke the monotony of defensemen in the box, going for a cross-check. And mid-way through, the refs inexplicably waved off an iced puck by the Wildcats, who then set up a pretty scoring play on the scrambling Spider backcheckers.
The Spiders paid the refs back a minute later, when a nasty collision in a corner chase led to ref Scott Johnson (6′ 7″) getting taken out by none other than “Rag Doll” Litton. Scott Johnson has a long history of sustaining job-related injuries at Spider games, with his very first AHA game resulting in a finger laceration.
The Wildcats though had found their second wind in the third period, while the Spiders were sitting back on their heels. But McCormick was up to the task, and turned away or ate every puck that came his way.
Down by two, the Wildcats called timeout at 2:15 remaining to pull their netminder, but lost the offensive-zone faceoff, and the play quickly ended up back to the Wildcat zone, and the shot from Freed along the left boards deflected off Johnson’s stick and into the waiting empty net.
Final score: 5–2.
With two wins to start the season, the Spiders now sit tied atop first place in C3 West with the Spartans (though would lose out on the 5th tiebreaker — goals allowed). The Spiders have not won two consecutive games since Jan. 8 and Jan. 13, 2018, and have not started a season 2–0 since 2010–11, the last year at D1 and the season the Spiders went 19–0–1.
Back to Backs
The Spiders haven’t won back-to-back since 2017–18. A look at all the back-to-back wins since the last actual multi-game winning streak in 2016 (four-game winning streak: 1/23 – 2/20/2016):
- 10/26 and 11/3/2019: Spiders 4 Flying Hellfish 1; Spiders 5 Wildcats 2
- 1/6 and 1/13/2018: Spiders 2 Wolf Rayets 0; Spiders 5 MN Warriors 0
- 11/27 and 12/2/2016: Spiders 2 Icedogs 1; Spiders 7 Gold Rush 1
- 3/13 and 3/6/2016: Spiders 3 Mastodons 2 (OT); Spiders 3 Fighting Loons 1
The Spiders are now 1–3 lifetime against the Wildcats, who fall to 0–1, and next face the Nordeasters, while the Spiders have a bye and return to the ice in two weeks to also take on the Nordeasters. The Spiders have never played the Nordeasters, who finished 7–10–1–2 in 7th place in C3 South last season, having moved up from D1 in 2017–18 after losing in the D1 final. They have gone 1–1 this season, with two 5–1 games, first a win loss to the Ice Hawks, and a win over the Flying Hellfish.
Puck drop in two weeks, Saturday, Nov. 16, at Highland, 9:20 p.m.
For details, see the box score and game summary.