“There are still some positives left in the season, and we wanted to jump out early and just have fun tonight.”
Those were the words of Lightning head coach Ted Nichols Friday night following his team’s 13-6 victory in the home finale. He was a coach hoping to have a little fun after last weekend’s debacle against the Illinois Piasa – a loss that crushed his team’s playoff hopes.
I caught up with Ted about an hour after the game, joking around with his players and staff in the team’s locker room.
The Lightning have much to play for still. They closed out the home season with a rousing 13-6 win over the Ohio Vortex. Five different players scored at least two goals, and the Lightning had a 2-0 lead four minutes into Friday’s game. It would be easy to recap the game in which the Lightning completed a season sweep of the Ohio Vortex. The contest was never in question.
The team was motivated and ready to go, but with all due respect to Ohio, it’s not because of them. The Lightning have one goal left this season, and it conveniently comes in the final game this Friday night:, beat the Cincinnati Kings. The Kings have done to the Lightning what the Lightning have done to the Vortex. Louisville has matched up with their arch-rivals three times, and each time came away short-handed. In three losses, however, the Lightning have been outscored by only six goals.
There are many reasons why Louisville lost to the Illinois Piasa last weekend, but it wouldn’t be a stretch to say they were looking ahead to Cincinnati. The rivalry between these two clubs is so intense, at least one Lightning intern got into a scuffle last season at Cincinnati with a Kings’ fan.
Cincinnati is cruising this season, with a 13-2 record. They also have the good fortune of hosting the league playoffs March 10-12.
Louisville would like nothing more to go into Cincinnati and end their season with a big win over their rivals. For Nichols and his players, it’s all about having fun on the season’s final weekend.