RiverHawks maintain close lead late in win over Cottonmouths

RiverHawks 4, Cottonmouths 2



When the Augusta RiverHawks needed early goals to get ahead, they turned to those who have carried their scoring lately. When they needed to hold a lead late, they turned to a different goalie.

Matt Auffrey and Ian Watters continued their hot play with two key goals, and Robert Moss held the Columbus Cottonmouths scoreless in the final period, leading the RiverHawks to a 4-2 win on Saturday night.

The win was the first at home for the RiverHawks since Dec. 13 and third overall at James Brown Arena.

Auffrey put Augusta (7-17-3) on the board first with his fourth goal in six games and sixth of the season, giving the RiverHawks a 1-0 lead just before the first period expired. It was 14th game in which the RiverHawks have scored first, giving them a 5-7-2 record in those games.

“I felt like the first period was one of our better periods of the season,” interim coach Mark Richards said. “We played simple and kept them on their heels a bit.”

The second period proved eventful when the RiverHawks scored two goals within 1 minute early in the period. Kyle Watson found the net first, followed by Watters, who scored his ninth goal of the season and third in three games, giving Augusta a 3-0 lead.

Columbus (12-10-3) answered in the second half of the period with goals scored by Tom Maldonado and Sam Bowles, inching the Cottonmouths to within one entering the third.

Moss hadn’t played since Dec. 27, but after holding Columbus scoreless in the first period, he did the same in the third, stopping eight shots and maintaining a one-goal lead until Shawn Skelly scored the fourth goal on an empty net in the final minute.

“Robert played well for us,” Richards said. “We’ve said before, goaltending isn’t the issue. Sometimes we end up on the short end of the stick. We just have to keep working on scoring.”


STAR OF THE GAME: Augusta goalie Robert Moss held Columbus scoreless for the final period, maintaining a close lead and securing the win.

KEY PLAY: Ian Watters scored his third goal in three games early in the second, giving Augusta a crucial third goal.

NEXT: Augusta at Fayetteville, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.