Thursday, December 6, 2012
Fayetteville, NC--The Augusta RiverHawks hit the road Thursday night for their first game of three this week with their first opponent presenting quite the challenge, the team atop the SPHL standings, the Fayetteville FireAntz. While the RiverHawks' have kept the contests relatively close with the FireAntz so far this season, the Team was more than determined to propel themselves to a much-needed victory, little did they know it would come in such an amazing comeback fashion.
The first period ended up being about as even as two teams could imagine. Both clubs posted 17 shots on net and both teams managed to stay out of the penalty box. Two pucks would find their way into the back of the net, with Fayetteville striking first on a rebound attempt from John Clewlow. It would take a few minutes, but Ian Watters (assist Matt Atsoff) would answer for Augusta with just over four minutes left in the period.
Fayetteville did not waste any time in the second, as they were able to sneak one past RiverHawks' netminder BJ O'Brien only thirty seconds into the period. While it could not qualify as an attractive one, the FireAntz hacked their way to their third goal less than four minutes later. Kyle Watson would be charged with the game's first penalty at 8:09, awarding the League's leading powerplay squad a golden opportunity to increase their lead to three. However, Augusta's penalty kill would prove to be the stronger of the two this time. It would not take long before the FireAntz would add insult to injury and go up 4-1 on the 'Hawks with a shot from reigning SPHL Easton Player of the Month, Josh McQuade. Augusta interim head coach Mark Richards would then make the call to replace O'Brien with back-up goaltender, Robby Moss. A glimmer of hope for the 'Hawks would come with thirty-four seconds left as Faytteville was called for their first penalty of the contest. While the RiverHawks were not able to convert before the buzzer sounded, they would begin the final period of regulation on a powerplay.
The 'Hawks' woes would continue in the third, as the final seconds of the powerplay dwindled down without Augusta adding any tallies. However, Shawn Skelly would enliven the RiverHawks' offense with the help of Team captain Matt Auffrey, shortly thereafter, to cut Fayetteville's lead to 4-2. The RiverHawks' penalty kill would receive another challenge after Jason Price was called for a cross-checking penalty. The FireAntz' hopes were doused quickly when Kyle Watson made his way down the ice and chipped in a short-handed goal just a few seconds into the Antz' powerplay to bring his club within one. Watson's goal seemed to open the flood gates, as seconds later, Watters recorded his second of the game to tie the contest at 4-4. The 'Hawks continued their scoring-fury, with goals coming in quick succession from Skelly to go up by one, and then again by Taylor McReynolds to increase the Team's lead to 6-4. The RiverHawks would not stop at six goals. Pat Schafer put the final cap on the night with an emptynet goal to record the final score at 7-4.
Moss stopped all eleven shots he faced after coming in, in relief of O'Brien.
Michael Switzer (1)
Matt Atsoff (1)
Ian Watters (3)
Taylor McReynolds (1)
Kyle Watson (1)
Pat Schafer (1)
Shawn Skelly (3)
Ian Jensen (1)
Matt Auffrey (1)
The 'Hawks will return to home ice for games both tomorrow night and Saturday night as the Mississippi Surge enter the James Brown Arena for the first time this season. Friday is Tribute to Veterans Night with Greenworks, when discounts are available at the Box Office for members of the military, both active and retired. Saturday night is Heroes Night as the RiverHawks pay tribute to local police, firefighters, and EMS workers who also may take advantage of ticket discounts at the Box Office. Both games are set for 7:35PM start times.For more information, call the RiverHawks at 706 993 2645 or visit www.augustariverhawks.com.