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Snakes in three-team battle for second

COLUMBUS, Ga. - The Columbus Cottonmouths went an even 3-3-0 over the past two weeks of games that spanned the holiday season. The Snakes briefly found themselves in second place before sliding into their current fourth place position in the SPHL standings but only one standing point behind Knoxville and Richmond, who are currently locked into a tie for second place in the league. The Cottonmouths will have their chance to take care of business this week as they face all three teams currently above them in the standings. The three game set in three nights begins with home games against Richmond on Thursday and Knoxville on Friday before the Snakes travel to Huntsville, Ala. to take on the Huntsville Havoc on Saturday night. All games this week as well as all games during the upcoming season will be aired on ESPN Sports Radio 1580 AM, "The Zone," with Mike Vee handling all the play-by-play action. The games will also be aired free of charge on a streaming Internet broadcast via Live365 and for a nominal charge on a video webcast courtesy of Penn Atlantic; links to both streams are available on the Cottonmouths' website at Columbus Cottonmouths Professional Hockey Team, Columbus Georgia.

CURRENT RECORDS AND STATS

Last Two Weeks: 3-3-0

Record: 14-9-0, 28 points (4th, SPHL)

90 GF, 79 GA

18.1% PP (3rd, SPHL); 85.2% PK (2nd, SPHL)

LAST WEEK'S TRANSACTIONS

12/23 - Signed D Tom Wilson to five-game tryout

12/26 - Activated D Jeff Moor from suspension

12/28 - SPHL suspended F Ryan Haggarty two games

01/02 - F Ryan Haggarty and D Daryl Moor activated from suspension

UPCOMING GAMES AND PROMOTIONS

Thursday, January 4 - Richmond at Columbus, 7:30 PM EST (Season Series vs. RMD: 1-1-0)

*PROMOTIONS: $1 Dog Night: Hot dogs at the concession stand on sale for $1!; Hollywood Night sponsored by Carmike Cinemas: Show your ticket stub from Thursday's game at any area Carmike theater and get a child's movie ticket for free with the purchase of an adult ticket. The Richmond Renegades invade the Snake Pit for the second of three meetings in Columbus this season. The two teams have split the season series so far at one game apiece with each team winning on their home ice. Columbus defeated Richmond 6-1 in their last game in the Snake Pit on December 15.

Friday, January 5 - Knoxville at Columbus, 7:30 PM EST (Season Series vs. KNX: 1-3-0)

*PROMOTIONS: Frankie Ouellette Jersey Retirement before the game: Come honor the all-time winningest goaltender in Columbus hockey history as his #30 will be raised to the rafters. The first 1,000 fans will receive a Frankie Ouellette jersey compliments of the Columbus Civic Center. Also, the Cottonmouths will be auctioning off an autographed stick and a jersey from Ouellette that was used in the 1997-98 CHL championship season. For the Elvis fans out there, the Snakes will pay homage to Ouellette's affinity for the King of Rock 'n Roll with an Elvis impersonation contest during the game! The Knoxville Ice Bears head to the Snake Pit to face Columbus on Friday night. Knoxville has been victorious in both games they have faced Columbus in the Snake Pit, outscoring the Cottonmouths by a combined score of 10-4 on Columbus ice.

Saturday, January 6 - Columbus at Huntsville, 8:30 PM EST (Season Series vs. HSV: 4-2-0)

Columbus travels to the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Ala. to take on the Havoc on Saturday night. The Cottonmouths have enjoyed success over Huntsville on VBC ice so far this season, going 2-1-0 against them in the Rocket City. In fact, Columbus has handed Huntsville their only two losses on home ice so far this season as they are 9-0-0 against the other six teams in the SPHL at home.

COTTONMOUTHS HOLIDAYS IN REVIEW

Thursday, December 21 - Fayetteville 2 at Columbus 5 (Attendance: 2,276)

Ryan Senft turned away 37 of 39 shots and Mark Prentice notched two goals in the Snakes' 5-2 victory over Fayetteville. Brock Johnson, Orrin Hergott, and Steve Howard also scored a goal apiece for Columbus. The Snakes were 2 for 6 on the power play while holding the FireAntz off the scoreboard in their six chances with the man advantage.

Friday, December 22 - Columbus 3 at Huntsville 2 (Attendance: 3,091)

Craig Stahl scored what proved to be the game winner in a fluky bounce over Havoc goaltender Matt Carmichael in a 3-2 Columbus win, their second in three games on Huntsville ice. Orrin Hergott and Tim Green both scored in the first period for Columbus. Both teams scored a power play goal with Columbus having 11 chances and Huntsville 10. Chad Rycroft turned away 44 of 46 Huntsville shots on goal for the victory between the pipes.

Saturday, December 23 - Knoxville 5 at Columbus 1 (Attendance: 2,313)

Ryan Rutz was the only Cottonmouth to score in the Snakes' 5-1 loss to the Ice Bears. Chad Rycroft took the loss in net with 32 saves on 37 shots. Knoxville was 0 for 7 on the power play while Columbus was 0 for 10.

Tuesday, December 26 - Florida 3 at Columbus 6 (Attendance: 4,495)

Columbus stormed back from a 2-0 first period deficit with five unanswered goals en route to a 6-3 win over the Florida Seals. Craig Stahl scored two goals including an empty netter late. Connor MacDonald scored his first professional goal in the game with Mark Prentice, Lorne Misita, and Ryan Rutz also scoring a goal each. Ryan Senft stopped 33 of 36 Florida shots on goal for the win. The Snakes were 1 for 4 on the power play while the Seals were 0 for 6.

Friday, December 29 - Columbus 1 at Richmond 4 (Attendance: 2,789)

Lorne Misita scored the first goal of the game but the lead would be short-lived as the hometown Renegades scored four unanswered goals to take a 4-1 victory in the Snakes' first-ever visit to Richmond. Both teams scored once on the power play as Columbus was 1 for 6 and Richmond 1 for 4. Chad Rycroft repelled 35 of 39 shots for the loss in net.

Saturday, December 30 - Columbus 3 at Knoxville 4 (Attendance: 3,158)

The Cottonmouths made a valiant effort in Knoxville on Saturday night despite being short four skaters for much of the game (Ryan Haggarty and Daryl Moor suspended, Tylor Keller out with an injury, and Craig Stahl suffering an injury late in the first period), falling in Knoxville 4-3. Lorne Misita, Brock Johnson, and Mark Prentice were the goal scorers for the Snakes. The Cottonmouths were 2 for 8 on the power play while Knoxville was 1 for 6. Ryan Senft took the loss, stopping 32 of 36 shots in net for Columbus.

THREE STARS OF THE HOLIDAYS

1. F Mark Prentice - Prentice scored four goals and added three assists over the last two weeks of games.

2. F Lorne Misita - Misita has caught fire over the past two weeks as well, scoring three goals and adding five helpers in the past six games.

3. F Craig Stahl - After a quiet start to the season, Stahl scored three goals and an assist in the past five games.
 
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