COLUMBUS, Ga. - The Columbus Cottonmouths signed forward Matt Gingera to a contract for the upcoming season, the team announced on Thursday. It will be Gingera's third season in a Snakes uniform.
Gingera has been an offensive force since joining the Cottonmouths in December 2012. He led the team in goals (28), points (50), and plus-minus (+12) in 2012-13 en route to being named the SPHL Rookie of the Year; his 28-goal output was the second-most in the league despite playing in only 46 of the Cottonmouths' 56 games. He was named SPHL Player of the Month in January 2013 after a month that saw him score 13 goals and 17 points in just 12 games. During that month, he became just the third player (Matt Whitehead, Matt Zultek) in SPHL history to tally a hat trick in back-to-back games, scoring his first pro hat trick on January 18 in a win over Pensacola and netting three goals two days later in a victory over the Augusta RiverHawks.
The 5'10", 175-pound Gingera returned to the Snakes for his sophomore campaign in 2013-14, again leading the team in goals (32) and points (55). His 32 goals were again good for second-best in the SPHL, his ten power play goals on the season were good for third-best, and his 55-point total was tied for fifth highest in the league. He was the first Cottonmouth to finish the season with 30 or more goals since Jesse Cole's 31-goal season in 2010-11. Gingera also etched his name in the SPHL record books as one of only four players (Steve Roberts, Rob Sich, Chris Wilson) in league history to score five goals in a single game, a 6-5 overtime victory over the Mississippi Surge on February 28, 2014.
"Gingera is a prolific goal scorer," head coach Jerome Bechard said. "I look to Matt to have another great season offensively, but I've challenged him to be my best player at both ends of the ice. He will be looked upon to be on the ice in all situations not just when we need the big goal."