(COLUMBUS, Ga.) - Kyle Sheen scored at 14:09 of the 3rd period to break a 2-2 deadlock as the Huntsville Havoc stayed in the chase for the final playoff spot after a 5-2 win over the Columubs Cottonmouths at the Columbus Civic Center, Friday night.
The 6th place Twin City Cyclones, lost Friday night to Jacksonville in 4-3 shootout. Huntsville and Twin City are now tied for 6th with the playoff spot now on the line for Huntsville tonight in Knoxville. Twin City is at Richmond.
A Havoc win in Knoxville secures a playoff spot. They can also advance with a Twin City loss in Richmond in regulation.
If the Havoc win and Twin City lose, Huntsville will be the five seed and Columbus will be the six seed.
A Havoc win and a Twin City win and the Havoc will be the five seed and Twin City will be the six seed.
Steve Briere got the win by stopping 27 of 29 shots. Columbus scored both their goals on the power play. Ian Vigier stopped 26 of 29 in the loss.
The Snakes missed many empty nets, hit two posts and a crossbar in a frustrating night. They end their regular season unable to lock down a playoff spot.
Huntsville got the scoring started with a Dan Buccella goal just 2:32 into the game, but Orrin Hergott answered seven seconds into a power play at the 8:58 mark. Public address announcer Steve Thiele was still announcing Matt Curley's hooking call when Hergott took a perfect pass from Tim Green and whistled it in to tie the score.
The Snakes took a brief lead in the 2nd period on another colorful power play goal. With a two-man advantage, Hergott hit the outside of the crossbar in the opening seconds of the period. Andrew Dwyer followed through, rifling the rebound from the right faceoff circle to put the Snakes up 2-1.
Then a little more than a minute later, Craig Bushey slipped a long shot through the pads of Vigier to tie the game at 2-2. The Havoc were content to play keepaway for the rest of the period and deep into the 3rd.
Sheen shot in the game-winner at 14:09, then with 1:12 remaining, Vigier was pulled for the man advantage, but James Patterson and Tristan Fairbarn countered that with empty-netters for the 5-2 win.
Now the Snakes need help to even reach the upcoming Southern Professional Hockey League playoffs.
Columbus finished its season with 50 points. With its win, Huntsville has 48 points with one game to play. Twin City is the third team vying for one of the two vacant playoff slots. The Cyclones picked up one point in a 4-3 shootout loss to Jacksonville. The Cyclones also have 48 points.
If Columbus, Twin City and Huntsville all finish with 50 points, the Snakes lose tie-breakers to both teams. The first tie-breaker is number of wins. The Snakes finished the season with 22 wins. Huntsville already has 23 and if the Cyclones win tonight they'll have 23.