Spiders meet expectations in 7–3 loss to first-place Hooligans
Feb. 6, 2020
Another four-goal margin with the top C3 team.
After yet another bye, with 12 days off due to the Super Bowl, and only THREE games in an entire month, the rusty Spiders dragged themselves to Breck for the last of the late-night schedule series (EIGHT games in a row starting at 9 p.m. or later), the Spiders had plenty of excuses to lose a game.
However, facing the first-place Hooligans, whose only loss came the first week of the season, and have otherwise dominated the C3 West field, while putting up All-AHA league-leading stats this winter, didn’t need any excuse to add another victory.
There was a glimmer of hope as the ref was ready to drop the puck, but the Hooligans’ netminder Dauwalter was nowhere to be found. Could the Spiders actually have a chance to get a handicap playing 5-on-6 against this team? The Hooligans instead called timeout, and soon the resident Breck dog was announcing the goalie coming down the tunnel, and ready to start. The striped crew returned to center ice for another puck drop, only to see the Spider net now empty, with goalie Bill McCormick having proceeded to the bench for equipment adjustments. Spider time out.
And amid all that, the Hooligans’ goalie did the same, getting his own gear removed. A literal yard sale for both goalies.
Finally, almost 10 minutes after the ice time opened, the puck dropped. And like clockwork, at the 10-minute mark, the Hooligans were up 1–0. At the 15-minute mark, up 2–0. The Spiders barely controlled the puck in the first period, and likely got some shots counted on waved off icings that reached the other net.
Regrouping in the second, a first shift top-shelf blast from the high slot by Dave Kuhnly surprised the Hooligans’ goalie to cut the lead in half 28 seconds into the period. Assist to Vandenberghe.
The Hooligans quickly answered — twice — on the next two shifts (14:57, 13:40), took their foot off the gas for a couple of shifts, then added another (9:16). And by the midway point of the game, it was 5–1, and the promise of a third period runtime clock looming.
The refs briefly slowed the Hooligan momentum, putting their (and the entire AHA’s third-leading … 17 goals) scorer, #71 B. Boaz, in the bin for “hooking” (can-openering Schuster at the blue line, who exited the game with a “lower-body” injury, just his second game back since returning from IR…).
It took just six seconds for the Spiders to cash in, with Cory Vandenberghe finding a loose puck in the crease, assist to Pappone in his first game back in a decade (12/23/2019). 5–2 Hooligans.
Cory also got a two-minute sit at the end of that shift, notching the first “AHA Gordie Howe Hat Trick” (G–A–PIM) of the season for the Spiders. The Spiders killed it off, but the Hooligans added another marker in the waning seconds of the period to go up 6–3.
On to the stop-time third, the Spiders added another, Grotbeck (in his second game of the evening) from Vandenberghe and Litton (who was already on the bench and didn’t get the Plus) to halve the lead again. The Hooligans of course answered back on the next shift, to make it 7–3. A couple more penalties, including the improbable sending of a referee to the bin for interference (or at least Farner to the bin for letting him know it should be interference), a blocked shot by Schroeder’s wrist (also in his second game of the night) and the game mercifully ended.
Post-game first aid
Final score: 7–3
In a game where the outcome was pre-decided, there are a few less-than-lowlights to note:
The Spiders held the top-3 all-AHA-leading scorer, #71 B. Boaz (17 goals), to ZERO goals and zero assists for only the second time this season. He has scored a goal in every single game he’s played except that team’s first game of the season (a 1–0 loss to the Spartans), averaging 1.7 goals per game in those games, and notching two hat tricks.
The Spiders also held the top-2 all-AHA-leading disher (18 assists on the season), the Hooligans’ captain #9 M. Sinnen, off the board. He has also scored in every single game he’s played except their first game of the season.
The Spiders put up three goals on the top-1 all-AHA-leading goalie, #1 P. Dauwalter. Add that to the five goals in the first game of the series, and that’s more goals against the Hooligans than they’ve given up in nine games (average 1.6 goals against including the Spiders; but just 1.2 against all other opponents, including three shutouts).
And finally … the Spiders don’t have to play the Hooligans again the season (unless Jim Mora is wrong).
The season series ends with the Hooligans taking both games, and 16 goals for.
Lifetime against the Hooligans, the series evens up at 2–2 dating back to the 2017–18 season.
The Spiders still sit in the stagnant middle of the pack of C3 West, stuck at 10 points, having not tasted victory in over a month, in a three-way tie for fifth with the Wildcats and Nordeasters.
Next up, another seemingly unstoppable team, the Spartans, who sit in second place, at 8–3–0–1. The Spiders’ previous matchup ended 3–2 for the Spartans in a game dominated by the Spiders until the ice titled.
It’s a quick turnaround for the Spiders, unaccustomed to playing more than once every few weeks, let alone before bedtime, on Sunday, 6 p.m. at Richfield.
For details, see the box score and game summary.