Spiders hold Loons fan to just three bird call sirens

The legendary Loon megaphoned goal siren made its return appearance at Highland for the last game of the regular season.

March 19, 2022, Highland – Spiders vs. Fighting Loons

The vaunted Loon Megaphone.

The last time the Spiders had the pleasure of the Loon blare was in the 2013–14 playoffs, though maturity has apparently won out and the horn was reserved only for goals, whereas in March 2014, it was on every save.

The Spider fans — and three Trooper fans who apparently were doing their own playoff watch scouting, since they don’t play until Sunday — were definitely regretting not brining earplugs. Especially as that siren went off early in the first, with leading Loon horn-generator #5 D. Galligan having beat the defense on every shift, eventually capitalized.

March 19, 2022, Highland – Spiders vs. Fighting Loons

Fan representation from Spiders, Troopers, and Fighting Loons...

It took until the second for the Spiders to sniff out the Loon goal, on a beautiful around the offensive zone horn passing play, Johnson from O’Connor and Schroeder, tie game.

The Spiders’ Parade to the Penalty Box resumed on the following faceoff, with Harry Long getting the first of his three bin sits, and a long drive home explaining to his kid “do as I say …” Harry barely got a chance to catch his breath in the box though, as Galligan capitalized on the power play for his second of the game.

March 19, 2022, Highland – Spiders vs. Fighting Loons

“Scholtron” appreciating the ref’s assistance on the forecheck.

The Loons’ lead lasted until the next faceoff, this time with Schroeder from Johnson and O’Connor, tie game again. Other than a rare non-Spider penalty, this time the Loons captain Scholten (wearing an illegal “Scholtron” jersey … that’s two weeks in a row with the opponents’ captain flaunting the AHA uniform requirement), the scorekeeper got a respite for four minutes until the Spiders got their first lead of the game, Johnson again, from Grotbeck. And he would have another chance on a bunt squeeze play soon thereafter, but has yet to practice in the batting cage this spring.

The Loons got their chances too, including a pop fly straight up off Kellogg’s blocker, and with thanks to physics, somehow landed right on the goal line, safely popped out of the way by the defense.

Midway through the third, the Spider defense placed the puck in the exact same spot on in front of the goalline trying to block a Scholtron pass out of the corner, a tee up for Galligan, as the Loon Megaphone lady tried to Frisbee her hat onto the ice. The ref inquired whether he was allowed to penalize the Loons for noise pollution. Game re-tied at three apiece.

Just in time for the parade to the box to resume.

March 19, 2022, Highland – Spiders vs. Fighting Loons

Nolan checking Amazon Prime delivery time for earplugs, while having to sit near the Loon Megaphone.

In all, the Red-N-White would spend a total of 11 minutes and 56 seconds shorthanded, including 4 minutes of PK at the end of regulation down at least a skater, if not two, with a crowded penalty box as C3 admin John Bader wiggled his way through for some chit-chat. But as any fan of C3 hockey knows, better to decline that power play, as Kellogg was the best penalty killer for the Spiders, and the Loons could not generate any significant chances, much to the Trooper fans’ elation, who were hoping for a Loons regulation L to maintain their playoff chances.

The Loons called a timeout with a minute and change to go, but the stalemate continued into the four-minute minute OT, which mostly featured icings and offsides, wasting away the runtime clock.

Final score: 3–3.

The Spiders take the season series 2–0–1, and lifetime against the various versions of the Loons Dynasty™, the Spiders are 7–6–1 dating back to the 2013–14 season.

2021–22 C3 West Standings (Week 20 – so far)
Spartans –y 19 17 2 0 0 34 83 26 90
Royals –x 20 14 3 2 1 31 84 47 68
Spiders –x 20 11 7 2 0 24 62 56 116
Fighting Walleye –x 19 11 7 0 1 23 72 56 50
Fighting Loons 20 10 9 1 0 21 75 71 64
Troopers 19 9 9 0 1 19 60 67 72
Nordeasters 20 8 11 0 1 17 63 71 84
Minnesota Mallards 19 7 10 1 1 16 55 73 78
Wildcats 20 5 15 0 0 10 40 79 102
Black Ice 20 3 15 0 2 8 44 92 68
  • y = clinched division
  • x = clinched playoff berth

Playoff watch

With the lone point, the Spiders (11–7–2–0, 24 pts.) advance to third place for the moment, while the last two games of the C3 West regular season play out Sunday, Fighting Walleye (11–7–0–1, 23 pts.) take on the Mallards later this week, while the Troopers (9–9–0–1, 19 pts.) take on the juggernaut Spartans (17–2, 34 pts.) to determine the fifth and final C3 West playoff berth.

If the Troopers can steal the game from the Spartans, it would come down to tiebreakers for them, as they hold the drop on the Loons for head-to-head record at 2–1 on the season. Troopers/Spartans takes place Sunday evening back at Highland. Good seats still available (and plenty of transportation options).

And the Fighting Walleye/Mallards game will determine whether the Spiders hold onto third place or get knocked back to fourth for the post-season berths. A point in any fashion by the Walleye would handily give them the spot, as a tie would come down to fourth tiebreakerFewest total penalty minutes in the regular season.

If there was any question that another team could catch the Spiders in the Anti-Lady Byng Trophy race, the striped crew erased all doubt Saturday, adding 14 minutes to the PIM column on the season. In all, the Spiders racked up 116 PIM in 19 games played, with the next closest team, Wildcats, at 102 PIM. The AHA could probably figure out a way to penalize the Spiders for the forfeit, just for good measure.

Next up … April Rust. The Spiders are now on hiatus until the first game of the playoffs on Tuesday, April 12. That’s over three weeks away, plenty of time for the rust to oxidize, and accelerated aging by the elderly Spider crew. The exact opponent will be revealed on Wednesday. But it will either be the C3 East first place team, currently the Bulls, or C3 East third place team, currently the Arctic Wolves. But with two games to go over there, it’s the GOLD RUSH who could find themselves facing the Spiders in that first game. AHA Math could do it again…

For details, see the box score and game summary.

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