Spiders rally to sweep Ice Hawks 6–5, but eliminated from post-season before puck drop

The Troopers beat the first-place Hooligans on the Richfield 2 ice before the Spiders/Ice Hawks game, locking in the Spiders’ April tee times.

The last late-night tilt of the season as the calendar turned to March. It was a balmy 46 degrees outside, but the Spiders headed indoors to Richfield 2. Unlike exactly one year ago, when the Spiders and Knights bundled up to head outside at the not-so-balmy SLP ROC.

Filling in Bill’s net tonight, with last week’s sub goalie Dan Schultz now officially moved up to C1/C2, was long-time Wing/Der/Rush/Pack summer teams goalie Suzanne Kellogg, who is playing a split goalie spot on the Gold Rush, as well as with the ShameOnIce.

Spiders vs. Ice Hawks, March 1, 2020, Richfield 2

She got to see the puck early, with the short-benched Spiders not quite ready for backchecking, with Ice Hawks’ speedster #16 R. Misson getting that team on the board.

But John “Rag Doll” (for tonight at least) Andres scored from the slot five-hole to tie the game, assist to O’Connor. The Ice Hawks answered three minutes later, and the first closed out 2–1.

Ice Hawks #8 J. Pusey, who would be all over the scoresheet as well as all over the ice, made it 3–1 Ice Hawks early in the second. Jason Freed cut the lead on the following shift, assist to Andres, and on a breakaway, Scott Bredael beat the Ice Hawks goalie Jenn Stone to tie the game back up.

It took three and a half minutes for the stalemate to break, as the Ice Hawks regained the lead. As the final minute of the second period ticked away, Pusey drew a high-sticking call against George Farner coming out from behind the night by yanking Farner’s stick up in the air. Of course only the high stick was noticed by ref Winters, who had kept his whistle firmly pocketed all night, not even calling his trademark back-shoulder interference penalty despite multiple opportunities.

However, it was the Spiders, in the final seconds of the second, who took advantage of the penalty, with Jon Pappone putting eyes on a left point puck passed from Schuster and Bredael, to find the top corner just as the buzzer sounded. Good goal. Tie game. One period to go.

Farner then made it very interesting for the Ice Hawks, as he scored at 14:16, assist by Pappone, giving the Spiders their first lead of the game, and drawing the ire of the Ice Hawks netminder. Bredael then almost made it a two-goal lead, with a loose puck sitting at Stone’s pad out of view for what seemed like a minute, but she somehow got her stick up to make the save.

D. Litton wanted to keep the suspense in the game going, in tripping an Ice Hawk on the breakaway as he cut across the slot, earning a bin sit as well as the ire of the Ice Hawk captain McDonald pleading with Winters for a penalty shot. His bin sit lasted a minute and a half, as Pusey re-tied the game for the Ice Hawks.

After nine minutes of tied hockey, it was finally the Spiders that broke through, with Mike Johnson getting set up by Freed and Berman to go up 6–5, 3:20 to go.

On the next shift, Pusey couldn’t help himself, taking out John Andres against the boards in the Spider defensive corner, meaning instead of rallying, they’d be killing off a penalty for all but 33 seconds of the game. Following the uneventful power play, the Spiders iced the puck with 30 seconds to go. The Ice Hawks pulled the goalie for the extra skater, but the Spiders and Kellogg were up to the challenge. A faceoff with 6 seconds on the clock was deftly won by Bredael, who shot it across the blue line and ate up the rest of the clock.

Final score: Spiders 6, Ice Hawks 5.

With the December win over the Ice Hawks, the Spiders sweep the season series, the only team the Spiders have gotten multiple W’s out of this season. Though that’s 100 percent more than last season. With the combined IceDogs/Nighthawks franchise, that brings the lifetime total record to 14–8–1–0 for the Spiders dating back to 2005.

Playoff Watch

2019–20 C3 West Standings (Week 17)
Hooligans –x 16 13 2 1 0 27 90 31 117
Spartans –x 17 12 3 1 1 26 61 32 90
Troopers 16 10 4 1 1 22 57 43 68
Blade Runners 16 10 5 1 0 21 65 59 126
Wildcats 16 7 7 2 0 16 53 61 111
Spiders 17 6 8 2 1 15 59 66 124
Nordeasters 16 4 10 2 0 10 41 75 74
Ice Hawks 16 4 12 0 0 8 44 75 84
Flying Hellfish 16 2 14 0 0 4 39 67 84
  • y = clinched division
  • x = clinched playoff berth
2019–20 C3 East Standings (Week 18)
Maroons –x 17 12 2 3 0 27 66 30 44
Fighting Walleye –x 17 10 2 3 2 25 69 46 48
Bulls –x 17 10 2 4 1 25 65 34 82
Pines –x 18 9 4 5 0 23 58 38 80
Gold Rush 18 7 7 3 1 18 58 51 108
Slashing Pumpkins 18 7 7 4 0 18 59 66 104
Fighting Loons 18 3 13 2 0 8 36 70 64
Shame On Ice 17 0 17 0 0 0 21 97 66
  • y = clinched division
  • x = clinched playoff berth
2019–20 C3 South Standings (Week 17)
Moose –x 17 16 1 0 0 32 78 17 62
Royals –x 16 12 4 0 0 24 73 40 44
Fighting Piranhas –x 16 11 3 1 1 24 63 37 32
Knights 16 10 4 2 0 22 69 48 56
Arctic Wolves 16 7 8 0 1 15 56 63 91
Black Ice 16 5 9 2 0 12 38 56 78
Boomsticks 16 5 9 1 1 12 35 51 56
Les Etoiles du Nord 17 2 14 1 0 5 26 68 46
Stars 16 1 14 1 0 3 22 80 54
  • y = clinched division
  • x = clinched playoff berth

The sixth victory of the Spiders’ 2019–20 season improves the record to 6–8–2–1 and 15 points. Good enough for zero standings movement whatsoever, as the Wildcats beat the Flying Hellfish 4–2 at SLP (indoor), to maintain their fifth-place slot.

But no matter how many games the Spiders win the rest of the season, the Troopers, the last team the Spiders could’ve caught for a playoff spot, took advantage of a very short bench (nine skaters) of the first-place Hooligans, and won 3–2. The cheers at the buzzer that echoed into Richfield Arena’s dressing room 7 while the Spiders were lacing up confirmed the April availability for golf tee times.

The highest the Spiders can now climb is 21 points, which is where the now fourth-place Blade Runners sit. But they also sit not only with a game in hand, but also with the tiebreaker thanks to their sweep of the Spiders (albeit one in OT). The Wildcats, also with a game in hand, could also catch the Blade Runners or the Troopers, depending on what happens in their remaining four games.

But the Spiders are officially out.

The races in the other C3 divisions are mostly over as well, with all but the dance card order set in C3 East.

In C3 South, there are two teams left vying for the final spot, including the aforementioned Knights. Last year’s C3 East champs the Moose have only one blemish on their record, a 4–2 loss to the Royals, and one game to go to be the first C3 team to clinch. Last year’s C3 overall champs, the LED Nord, have sunk to the cellar, at 2–14–1.

Next up, game 18 of the season, the Spiders will look to sweep the Flying Hellfish in the rubber match to celebrate DST Day.

The Flying Hellfish are having a season very familiar the Spiders, going 2–14, those lone wins both coming against the Ice Hawks.

Puck drop is early Sunday, 6:45 p.m., at EPCC.

For details, see the box score and game summary.

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