C3 Spiders can’t complete two big comebacks in a row, fall 5–3 to Wildcats despite two last-minute goals

Wildcats score early and often, just as predicted in pre-game chalk talk.

After salvaging an 0–4 deficit last week against the Flying Hellfish to come back and win 5–4, the Spiders were confident as they let in goal after goal by the Wildcats.

The chalk talk specifically advised the Spiders to corral any feral Wildcat in the D-zone. Instead, the Cats had free reign with the ball of yarn in Bill’s crease, scoring on a two-on-none loose puck 4 minutes in.

Later in the first, the Wildcats drew the first sit in the very narrow Eden Prairie rink 1 penalty box. The Spider captain attempted to decline the penalty, but was ignored by the officials, who were soon busy tallying the Wildcats’ speedster #99 Mealhouse’s shorty as he blazed by the aforementioned captain in the neutral zone for a breakaway. Wildcats: 2-zip.

Jan. 12, 2020, Spiders vs. Wildcats, Eden Prairie Rink 1

More of the same in the second, as #95 FrahmGilles used his Spider socks to sneak behind the defense and put the Wildcats up by 3.

The Spider bench began wondering when the promised comeback would begin. Cory Vandenberghe delivered with 4:30 remaining in the period, assists to Andres and Sommerness, to cut the Wildcats to the dreaded two-goal lead.

In the third, the Spiders started to build momentum, paused by having to kill off the fourth penalty of the game, this time not so successfully, as the Wildcats converted just 26 seconds into the power play. Wildcats 4–1.

The Spiders then continued working on the comeback, maintaining possession and putting quality shots on net, only to be stuffed time and again by Wildcats’ netminder #30 J. Schwarze (or #33 Eric Skare … since Schwarze was also playing in a different game at BIG at the same time).

With four minutes to go, the Wildcat captain Oppedisano (who is in second place for goals in C3 West at 11 on the season) beat the Spider D on yet another breakaway to re-establish the four-goal margin.

Comeback hopes dashed. Or were they?

In the meat minutes, Dave Sommerness deflected a perfect shot in the crease for his first of the season (with the Spiders) to make it 5–2 with 41 ticks on the clock. And on the ensuing faceoff, the Flying V returned and made it 5–3, now with 21 seconds to go. With the EPCC ice crew with their hand on the Zamboni gate, and the refs, who were questioning life and career choices every time the Spiders iced the puck, the Spiders avoided further ire and did not call a time out.

Instead, the Spiders lost the next faceoff, and went down in defeat, covering the Vegas line at 5–3.

In all, the Spiders outshot the Wildcats 14–7 in the third, and 29–19 overall. And while the chalk talk accurately predicted the keys to the game, the Spiders handed those keys over to the Wildcats.

Lifetime against the Wildcats, it’s now 1–4, not in favor of the Spiders.

2019–20 C3 West Standings (Week 10)
Hooligans 9 8 1 0 0 16 49 14 71
Spartans 10 6 3 0 1 13 30 19 48
Troopers 9 5 2 1 1 12 29 28 36
Blade Runners 10 6 4 0 0 12 35 38 82
Spiders 10 4 4 1 1 10 37 37 96
Ice Hawks 9 4 5 0 0 8 33 38 54
Wildcats 9 3 4 2 0 8 29 35 77
Nordeasters 10 3 5 2 0 8 27 42 40
Flying Hellfish 10 1 9 0 0 2 24 42 58

With the loss, the first of the decade for the Spiders, it’s back to .500 at 4–4–1–1, but still in fifth place and still a game out of the fourth and final playoff spot with 10 points. With three teams at 8 points sitting behind the Spiders, and yet another bye (strategically avoiding yet another embarrasment to Hockey Day Minnesota on Jan. 18), the Spiders can sink as far down as eighth place before next taking the ice.

The team in eighth is the Nordeasters, which the Spiders will take on next, in two weeks. The Spiders beat the Flying Hellfish 4–3 Sunday night at Woog, and will play their game in hand against the Wildcats next Monday, Jan. 20.

The Spiders’ previous game this season against the Nordeasters ended in a 3–3 tie.

Puck drop is at 9 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 26, at New Hope.

For details, see the box score and game summary.

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