Fish eat Spiders

Discombobulation to start, domination in the second, parade to the box in the third.

It was that kind of night. A rare Friday night game, at Richfield, saw just about everything … except a Spider W.

During warmups, center Dave Sommerness discovered his skate runner had split in half. Given the Spider equipment crew had taken the night off, Dave had to follow suit. So the Spiders dropped the puck with just 10 skaters, facing off against the full — and far younger — bench of the second-place Fighting Walleye Blue. And the youngest of the Spiders, though probably older than everyone on the Walleye, was finishing his birthday celebration and wouldn’t arrive until just before the first intermission.

By that time, the Spiders had already dug a one-goal hole, after the defense snoozed on a short-handed marker.

In the second though, the Spiders found their (umm) second gear, throwing the (C3 West-leading) Fish goalie (2.38 GAA and 91.83 SV%) into a tizzy, and putting up a four-goal barrage, including a shorty revenge goal by Mettee, during a PK on behalf of netminder Tucker’s contribution to the PIM race. While the Walleye finally responded on that same power play to make it 4–2, birthday boy Vandenberghe got a gift-wrapped pass that he buried to put up the Spiders 5–2 with just over two minutes to go in the period.

And that’s when the second period snooze made its last gasp. Next shift it was 5–3, and with 13 ticks before the buzzer, it was 5–4.

In the third, the penalty box parade continued, and each team got their own 5-on-3, but it was one team took advantage of both, a PPG and yet another shorty. In the waning minutes, the Spiders instead went back on the PK (even though the Spiders unfairly didn’t get credited with the PIM!) and were unable to pull the goalie, and then gave up the dagger.

Final score 7–5, Walleye.

2022–23 C3 West Standings (Week 18)
Saints–y 18 15 1 2 0 32 94 45 90
Fighting Walleye Blue–x 18 12 3 3 0 27 81 43 64
Nordeasters 18 9 6 3 0 21 69 57 85
Minnesota Mallards 18 10 8 0 0 20 75 62 84
Les Etoiles du Nord 18 9 7 1 1 20 78 58 76
Spiders 18 9 9 0 0 18 64 68 163
Arctic Wolves 18 7 7 3 1 18 43 66 76
Fighting Loons 18 6 8 2 2 16 63 61 84
Spartans D1 18 3 11 4 0 10 46 93 54
Blade Runners 18 1 16 0 1 3 41 101 100
  • y = clinched division
  • x = clinched playoff berth

It’s one of the few teams the Spiders have split the season series with. But it’s unlikely to matter, as with just two games to go in the 2022–23 season, the Spiders would have to catch two teams that would need to lose out free and clear of the tiebreakers to hope for April hockey. Even in the very unlikely event of the now-division-clinching (and plaque-bearing) Saints (15–1–2–0, 32 points) getting bumped up for the tourney, the Spiders only own the season series with the Mallards, and would of course lose out to any team ever in the PIM tiebreaker. Stranger things have happened with AHA Math, but Spiders can likely book their April tee-times.

Speaking PIM … the Spiders, idle for over a week, have trailed off in the race for the Anti-Lady Byng Cup, to the point where not even a two more PIM Parades in the final two games will even get them back in the running. The late entrant Anchors though are creeping up on the Chiefs, who finally own (ownz) the pole position.

PIM Race
Chiefs B2 17 181
Anchors C2 18 174
Kodiaks B1 17 165
Spiders C3 18 163
Sharks C1 17 159
Outlaws B2 17 158

Lifetime against the Fighting Walleye, which dates back to the 2020–21 playoffs (where they went on to win the C3 hardware), the Spiders are now 2–4*, including the asterisk game.

Elsewhere in Spider IR news, rumor has it Pappone and Schuster took the ice for the first time this winter at JMS!

And finally, the only sure thing the Spiders have continued to dominate at all season … shutting down the bar, getting yet another Semisonic song serenade by the staff at Bob’s Country Bunker.

Next up, the last-place Blade Runners, who finally won a game, over the Spartans D1, in a quick turnaround from Friday and also rare Monday night game. Post-DST puck drop at New Hope at 7 p.m.

For details, see the box score and game summary.

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