Struggling to find offense this season, the Augusta RiverHawks were still searching for answers after Thursday night’s game.
Pensacola scored a pair of late goals for a 3-1 win that extended the RiverHawks’ winless streak to six. The teams turn around and play again at 7:35 tonight in James Brown Arena.
“The players we have are good players,” RiverHawks coach Rob Miller said. “Finding a way to win is what we need to do. That’s partly my job, obviously, and it’s partly the players’ jobs. They get paid to do a service and they have to do that.
“We’ve got to get over that hump. I have no idea when it’s going to happen. But I’m sure it better happen (tonight).”
Augusta came out more aggressive than in previous games and out-shot Pensacola, 32-29. But Miller said his team didn’t force the issue enough with Ice Flyers goalie Steve Christie (31 saves).
“We were better tonight than we have been in the past, but I don’t think we pressured their goaltender enough,” Miller said. “Some saves he had to make were easy saves. We need to get to the net more. I sound like a broken record.”
Augusta (0-5-1) has scored only 10 goals this season. Miller decided to shake things up Wednesday, when he traded fan favorite Branden Kosolofsky to the Mississippi Surge for right winger Shawn Skelly (four goals on the season) in an effort to boost the offense.
In his first game with Augusta, Skelly, who drove eight hours Wednesday, took five shots against Pensacola but failed to score a point.
“I was happy with him,” Miller said. “He’s here to put points on the board. I thought he had some chances.”
Augusta’s Mike Switzer opened the scoring off an assist from Drew Baker at the 9:49 mark in the first period. Pensacola knotted up the game with a Ryan Salvis goal in the second.
With 3:48 to go in the final period, Aaron Schmit slapped a shot directly at Augusta goalie BJ O’Brien, who deflected the puck to his left. Pensacola’s John Dunbar, standing alone in front of the net, punched in the deflection to give the Ice Flyers the lead.
In the final minute, Patrick Knowlton iced the game with his empty-net goal.