COLUMBUS, GA – One night after hosting the Mississippi Surge, the Columbus Cottonmouths took on the other Mississippi squad, the RiverKings, at the Columbus Civic Center. Just as it had been the evening before, the Cottonmouths picked up yet another important win as they blanked the RiverKings 3-0.
The story in this game was the defense, in particular goalie Andrew Loewen who pitched his second shutout in his last four starts. Loewen stopped all 25 shots he faced as he and his teammates perfectly defended against seven Mississippi power play opportunities.
The game was a tough affair from the opening face-off. Two fights errupted within the first seven minutes of the game as Will Aide battled the RiverKings Mike Hayward four minutes in before Columbus’ Alex Gallant took on Mississippi’s Mike Grace.
Columbus scored twice within a span of 38 seconds to take a lead they would not relinquish. Preston Shupe scored the eventual game winning goal on a power play at the 12:34 mark of the stanza with Neilsson Arcibal and Seth Ronsberg picking up the assists. Then at the 13:12 mark, Matt Gingera who was the hero on Friday, set up Aide who beat Mississippi goalie Matthew Krahn to double the Cottonmouths lead.
Tempers flared up again in the middle frame when the Cottonmouths’ Andy Willigar dropped the gloves with the RiverKings Sean Jones six minutes in. Seconds after that bout, Columbus’ Levi Lind threw down with Mississippi’s Tyler Sheldrake in what turned out to be the final fight of the evening.
Three minutes after everything calmed down, Columbus got its third and final score when Steve Mele scored on a power play with the lone assist going to Arcibal.
The rest of the game was left to Loewen and the defense, which allowed 12 first period shots but clamped down to give up a total of 13 in the final two frames. The Cottonmouths were especially stingy in the second period, giving up a mere four shots to the RiverKings.
Despite the loss, Mississippi’s Krahn played well in net, stopping 25 of the 28 Columbus shots he faced.