Thursday December 27, 2012
Augusta-GA--The RiverHawks' Captain Matt Auffrey got his club out to a one-goal lead early in the first period. Chad Ziegler sent an area-pass towards the front of the FireAntz goal, and Auffrey was able to chip it in past FireAntz goaltender Kyle Rank.
The lead lasted through to the second half of the first period when the FireAntz were able to even the score. Bobby Reed rushed down the right wing and was guarded closely by a RiverHawks defenseman, but he managed to get a hard wrist shot off anyhow. The shot somehow found it's way past RiverHawks' goaltender Robby Moss and into the back of the net to make the score 1-1.
The RiverHawks managed to take the lead just less than seven minutes into the second period. Auffrey and forward Chad Zielger broke into the FireAntz' zone on a two-on-one opportunity. Ziegler used Auffrey as a decoy, and rifled a snap-shot past Rank to make the score 2-1.
The lead did not last long as the FireAntz capitalized on a defensive breakdown by the RiverHawks off the next faceoff. Ben Contini broke into their RiverHawks' end and slid a pass across the RiverHawks' crease. The puck was fired up over Moss by Jon Clewlow to knot the game at 2 goals a piece.
Clewlow was back at it nine minutes later, as he helped the FireAntz take the lead. Clewlow feathered a perfect pass to the front of the RiverHawks' net, and Brian Elser chipped it over Moss to make the score 3-2.
The RiverHawks had a power play to start the third period, and they managed to capitalize on their opportunity. Will Lacasse started a pretty passing play by sending it down to Ziegler. Ziegler fired a quick cross-crease pass to Patrick Schafer who finished the play off sliding it through Rank's pads.
The game would only stay tied for just over five minutes, as back-to-back turnovers in their own end would cost the RiverHawks. FireAntz' forward Derek Eliott forced the turnover and slid a nice pass out front to Brandon Richardson who hammered a shot past the RiverHawks' goaltender.
The RiverHawks amped up the pressure in the dying minutes generating plenty of scoring chances, but they were turned away every time by Rank who made some of his best saves when his team needed it. The RiverHawks did manage to pull their goaltender in favor of the extra attacker, but it worked against them as the FireAntz were able to send the puck down the ice into the empty net to make the final score 5-3.