Spiders dig out of tilted Tria ice, come back to win 5–4 over Flying Hellfish

The Spiders erased a four-goal deficit with five unanswered tallies.

The 18,000 in downtown St. Paul Sunday night had a chance to see some winning hockey if only they headed to the Wild’s practice facility instead of the X. The Spiders returned from the holiday break to take on the 1–7 Flying Hellfish, at Tria in front of 00,000 fans.

Only it was the Flying Hellfish that looked ready to play. The Spiders were still in holiday mode, giving gift after gift of neutral zone turnovers. The Spiders had absolutely no answer in the first period, giving up three quick goals on 12 shots, while the Spiders registered only three on sub goalie Shawn Flesher.

Early in the second, it was more of the same, as Chris O’Connor got flagged for hooking in his return to the ice after a four-game IR hiatus, and Chris got just a 27-second bin break, as the Hellfish made it 4-zip and over half a game to go (but two goals away from runtime clock mercy).

Jan. 5, 2020, Spiders vs. Flying Hellfish, Tria

But at the midway point of the period, the ice started to tilt back toward Wabasha St., with Mike Schroeder getting the Spiders on the board, from Sommerness and (maybe) Andres, followed 12 seconds later by George Farner, from (maybe) Long and Sommerness (the scorekeeper decided all the scoring corrections made in the Tria dressing room were optional).

With the lead cut to two, the Spiders were finally awake, and trimmed it to a one-goal game with Scott Bredael from Kato and (maybe) Schroeder.

The third was all Spiders as the ice now leaned toward Cedar St. with Mike Johnson from Freed with the game-knotting goal just a minute and a half in. A shift later, John Andres gave the Spiders the lead, from Farner, for his first of the season. With just under 14 minutes to go, the Spiders buckled down for the Hellfish barrage that was sure to come.

And come it did, with no closer of a chance on a cranial save by Bill McCormick (his career 102nd), that ended deflecting off the pipe. The Hellfish pulled their goalie just under the two-minute mark, though had to get him back in for a neutral zone faceoff a minute later. But the Spiders stood tough, and Bill stood on his head, to hold on for the improbable comeback win.

Final: 5–4 Spiders

2019–20 C3 West Standings (Week 9)
Hooligans 9 8 1 0 0 16 49 14 71
Spartans 9 6 2 0 1 13 28 16 46
Troopers 9 5 2 1 1 12 29 28 36
Blade Runners 9 5 4 0 0 10 32 36 74
Spiders 9 4 3 1 1 10 34 32 88
Ice Hawks 8 4 4 0 0 8 30 33 44
Wildcats 8 2 4 2 0 6 24 32 73
Nordeasters 8 1 5 2 0 4 18 36 26
Flying Hellfish 9 1 8 0 0 2 21 38 52

It’s the Spiders second consecutive win, improving to 4–3–1–1 and 10 points, good enough for 5th place for the time being, and just a spot out of the playoff cutoff thanks to tiebreakers.

Next up, the Spiders stay up late again next Sunday against the Wildcats (2–4–2–0; 7th place). They will be shaking off the rust that night, having been on a three-week holiday season bye since Dec. 22, when they beat the Hellfish 4–3.

The previous game vs. the Wildcats went the Spiders’ way, 5–2 in November.

Puck drop is 9 p.m. at Eden Prairie.

For details, see the box score and game summary.

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