By Kathy Gierer, Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
Last season, Andrew Loewen rode the bench while goaltending partner Ian Vigier led the Columbus Cottonmouths to the Southern Professional Hockey League championship.
Now it's Loewen's turn to shine.
Snakes coach Jerome Bechard has declared no No. 1 goalie for the past several seasons, as Vigier and Loewen shared playing time equally. But Vigier got the hot hand late in the regular season and Bechard and the Cottonmouths rode Vigier exclusively through their six-game playoff sweep.
"Every situation calls for specific roles played out by specific players," Loewen said. "My role was to be ready if I was needed and ready to support Ian. I wouldn't change a thing."
The Snakes have the top tandem in the league, occupying the SPHL's number 2 and 7 slots among active goaltenders. Loewen, 10-4-0, is second in the league, with a goals-against average of 2.11 and save percentage of .936. Vigier, 6-7-3, is seventh at 2.62 and .915. During the 2012 playoffs, which ended in Pensacola with the Cottonmouths raising the President's Cup, Vigier posted a 6-0 record with a goals-against average of 1.30 and save percentage of .956.
Halfway through the season, each Snakes goalie has recorded a shutout. Vigier earned his on opening night, 4-0 over Pensacola. Loewen shut out the Mississippi Surge 1-0 in Biloxi on Nov. 21.