A game featuring two of the better goal-preventing teams in the league found itself in a back-and-forth offensive game down the stretch.
Two ties and three lead changes highlighted a high-scoring contest between the Augusta RiverHawks and Columbus Cottonmouths. A Chad Ziegler goal with 12 seconds left led to a 5-4 win for the RiverHawks on Friday at James Brown Arena.
After the Cottonmouths jumped to a two-goal lead, the RiverHawks scored four unanswered goals in the second period.
Columbus responded with two in the third to tie, but Ziegler put the RiverHawks ahead just before time expired for the win.
“It was an emotional rollercoaster for everybody involved,” interim coach Mark Richards said. “It’s one of those games where, when it’s back and forth, you have to have a short-term memory. In the end, we got it done.”
Columbus (13-11-3) jumped to an early lead when Sam Bowles and Matt Gingera scored within the first 5 minutes of the game. The RiverHawks found themselves down 2-0 after the first period.
The lead didn’t last long after Augusta (8-18-3) took advantage of a power play to begin the second. A goal by Dennis Sicard within the first minute of the period and Alex Morton’s second goal in two days tied the game. Shawn Skelly and Taylor McReynolds each scored to cap the four-goal period.
A five-on-three situation produced a goal for Columbus to begin the third, as Derek Pallardy found net. Jordan Braid scored halfway through the final period to tie it at 4.
As the clock wound down, Ziegler found an assist from Matt Auffrey and slapped it past Columbus goalie Ian Vigier, giving the RiverHawks the win.
“We got good pressure on their goalie,” Ziegler said. “I got a good chance and was fortunate. At that point, we were just trying to find net.”
The RiverHawks moved to 3-0 against the Cottonmouths this season. The Cottonmouths entered the game ranked third in the SPHL in goals allowed per game at 2.62. However, the RiverHawks have scored 14 goals against them this season.