It's win or else for the Snakes - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

It's win or else for the Snakes

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

Thursday was picture day for the Cottonmouths, but the playoff picture wasn’t all that pretty.

They could have folded up their tents and gone home seven weeks ago after they lost eight straight games and dropped into last place in the SPHL.  But the Snakes turned things around... and with two weeks left in the regular season, they're still in the playoff picture.

Of course, they have a huge mountain to climb, seven points back of Macon with five games left to play. That just means the job description is clear-cut.

“We know what we gotta do,” said head coach Jerome Bechard. “We gotta win four out of five games.”

“ As always, you want to be in control of your own destiny,” goalie Brandon Jaeger said. “We have a chance to win five games in a row here and make the playoffs, so that's what we're trying to do.”

Their backs are to the wall because things got out of focus midway thru the season. A string of injuries and call ups left the Snakes searching for cohesiveness according to team captain Kyle Johnson.  

“We had so many new guys coming due to injuries or whatever,” Johnson said, “guys going back home, we had a lot of concussions, stuff that you don't want to mess around with. You've got to bring in fresh blood and then it's back to square one, teaching everybody the systems of the Snakes and stuff like that. So it's not always the easiest thing do to, but it's adversity. We have to pull through it.”

And they did, to a degree. But to get their team picture into the SPHL's playoff program, they're going to have to put it all on the line with two games at home this weekend, and then three more at regular season champ Peoria.

Bechard has a message for his guys.

“You know what? There's a chance,” Bechard said. “As long as there's a chance, I'm asking, I'm telling you guys, and I'm trying to find out who's going to be the professional athlete here, and no matter what happens, whether we're in or whether we're out, win our last two games and give us an opportunity to go on the road and get into the playoffs.”

Message received. Unequivocally.

“It's do or die hockey” Johnson said. “I mean, we're going to be a dangerous team. We've got our backs against the wall, so we've got to come out swinging.”

First up is the Macon Mayhem in a game that they must win to even have a chance to make a run. The opening faceoff is set for Friday night at 7:30 pm ET at the Civic Center.

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