Spiders flattened by Hooligans 9–5

Despite a third-period comeback to tie it, the wheezing short-benched Spiders got doubled up on shots, and almost on goals.

The pre-Thanksgiving Spiders headed back to Highland, this time wearing the new Tough Jersey sweaters the team procured, replacing the last of the 2008–09 Bakka mesh that ushered that team to the D1 championship.

Tonight’s Spiders looked more like the 2018–19 version, with a short bench and two skating speeds: old and slow. The first-place Hooligans, coming fresh off a 4–1 win over the Wildcats (which included a rare-for-the-AHA Five For Fighting), had the jump on the Spiders from the first puck drop, scoring on their first shift, just 39 seconds into the game, barely enough time for the large Spider cheering contingent to find their seats.

Those fans did get to see the Spiders answer back on their next shift, with Mike Schroeder potting the Spiders’ first of the night (and his first of the season) from Bredael at 1:09 into the game. It took the Hooligans just 14 seconds to retake the lead, and a whopping 12 minutes of non-goal-scoring until the Spiders tied back up, Scott Bredael (also first of the season) from Schroeder and Grotbeck.

In the second, the Macy’s Pre-Thanksgiving Day Parade to the Penalty Box began in earnest, only to be interrupted by three unanswered non-power play goals, two off the stick of ALL-AHA (not just C3 West) leading scorer #71 M. Boaz.

In the waning seconds of the period, the Spiders finally made the Hooligans pay for their sin bin sins, Schroeder from O’Connor at the 16:10 mark. Hooligans up 5–3 with one period to go.

That momentum carried into the third, with first Schroeder from VanZyl and Litton, which resulted in a lone thrown hat, then Grotbeck from Farner and Vandenberghe to complete the comeback — a 5–5 tie with 12:33 to go.

The Spiders then (successfully) attempted to tie the Hooligans in PIM, with Johnson heading to the box, freed (eventually) by a goal scored on a net mouth scramble that sent Litton to the box, soon joined by VanZyl to give the Hooligans a 5-on-3, that they did not waste. And just like that, it was 7–5.

The Spiders spent the rest of the 8 remaining minutes chasing more 3-on-1’s than you can shake an Easton at. Following the time out at 1:19, the Spiders never gained possession enough to get McCormick to the bench, and instead allowed two quick goals to put the game well out of reach.

While the final PIM count may have been tied (5–10 each), the Hooligans doubled up the shots on the Spiders, 46–23, including a 20-shot third period (just three away from the Spider record — 23 — held by the Nighthawks on 3/26/2014, and simply ran out of time to double up the scoring, with the final score of 9–5.

2019–20 C3 West Standings (Week 4)
Hooligans 5 4 1 0 0 8 27 11 55
Troopers 4 3 1 0 0 6 13 8 18
Ice Hawks 5 3 2 0 0 6 21 17 30
Spiders 4 2 1 1 0 5 17 15 36
Spartans 4 2 1 0 1 5 9 6 34
Nordeasters 4 1 1 2 0 4 13 13 12
Blade Runners 5 2 3 0 0 4 17 23 50
Wildcats 4 1 2 1 0 3 11 16 49
Flying Hellfish 5 0 5 0 0 0 5 24 32

It’s the Spiders’ first loss of the season, now with a 2–1–1 record and a quick drop to fourth place, tied with the Spartans, though still with a game in hand on the Hooligans, who solidify their first-place spot at 4–1. They also hold first in the PIM column in the entire league (at 55), thanks in part to their 5+10 fighting major last week.

Following the Thanksgiving holiday, the Spiders hit the road next Sunday, with their first out-of-market game (Inver Grove), to take on the Blade Runners. They are in 7th place, at 2–3, coming off a 4–3 PIM-fest loss (40 PIM between the two teams) to the Wildcats.

The Spiders haven’t played the Blade Runners since the 2017–18 season. Lifetime, the Spiders have a very even 2–2–1–1 record dating back to the 2014–15 season.

Head to the VMCC next Sunday, Dec. 1, 9:20 p.m. for Spiders vs. Blade Runners.

For details, see the box score and game summary.

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