COLUMBUS, GA – One night after losing in overtime to the Bloomington Thunder, the Columbus Cottonmouths once again found themselves trying to avoid a two-game losing streak at the Columbus Civic Center when the two teams met on Saturday, January 4th. Led by Jason Gray on offense and Andrew Loewen in net, the Cottonmouths once again avoided sending the home fans away unhappy with a 4-0 whitewashing of the Thunder.
The host Cottonmouths got all of the scoring they would need eight minutes into what was a fairly even first period. With Columbus on a penalty kill, Tory Allan was able to get the puck away from the Thunder and beat goalie Max Strang for an unassisted short-handed tally.
The Snakes had an opportunity to increase the lead two minutes later when a penalty to Bloomington’s Dennis Sicard combined with a double minor assessed to Peter Cintala gave the home team a full two minutes of a five-on-three man advantage. Strang and his teammates held the fort, keeping Columbus from scoring.
Still holding a one goal lead heading toward the middle of the second period, Columbus took complete control of the contest in the blink of an eye. At the 9:18 mark of the frame, Gray and Jordan Draper combined to set up Neilsson Arcibal for a goal that doubled the lead.
On the very next shift, Draper got the puck to Will Aide who in turn fed Levi Lind who beat Strang to up the margin to 3-0. With the way Loewen was playing, the three goal lead, considered by some to be the most dangerous in hockey, was safe as he continued to be perfect. By the time the intermission rolled around, Loewen was up to 22 saves on the way to a 30-save performance.
All that was left for Columbus was to get Loewen his first shutout of the season. The Cottonmouths defense clamped down on Bloomington’s offense, allowing just eight shots on Loewen in the final twenty minutes. Columbus was able to add one more score late in the frame as Draper picked up his third assist of the contest when Gray netted his second goal of the year.