A change of home scenery for the Augusta RiverHawks failed to stop the team’s recent skid.
The RiverHawks fell victim to the Knoxville Ice Bears’ hot streak, losing 4-3 on Tuesday night at Augusta Ice Sports Center.
Playing in front of season-
ticket holders sitting in bleachers, Augusta (16-27-3) lost its second consecutive game as it attempts a late-season playoff push. The Mississippi RiverKings beat the Huntsville Havoc 4-1 on Tuesday, keeping the RiverHawks seven points behind the Havoc.
“All you can do is keep trying to win games,” coach Mark Richards said. “We’re to the point where we need help from others quick, and we’re living in others’ hands. That’s a dangerous game.”
Knoxville (27-17-3) scored two first-period power-play goals en route to its fifth in a row.
Knoxville’s Brendan Taylor scored the first power-play goal 3 minutes into the game. The second power-play goal came from David Segal with 8 minutes left. Knoxville entered the game ranked second in the SPHL in power-play goals with a 19 percent success rate.
The RiverHawks climbed within one after two periods, as Curtis Megginson and Casey Mignone scored. A goal from Peter Neal kept the Ice Bears ahead 3-2 at that point.
With 13:58 left in the game, the RiverHawks tied the game at 3 on a power-play goal by Alex Morton. However, a goal by Knoxville’s Ben Souders with 6 minutes left put the Ice Bears ahead for good.
“Down three and coming back showed good character,” Richards said. “We had an unfortunate turnover, and (Augusta goalie Robert) Moss never saw the last goal.”
After allowing five goals in his previous game, Moss allowed four in 35 attempts. Knoxville’s Connor Toomey stopped 19 of 22 shots.
RiverHawks fans filled the ice center’s metal bleachers, with temporary seating surrounding the ice. The ice and boards remained steady for the length of the game.
“We didn’t have any issues,” Richards said. “Things seemed to go better than I expected.”
Before the game, the RiverHawks signed center Jay Pietrasiak, 24, to a contract. He is coming off four years at Johnson & Wales University, including 24 points in 27 games to end this season.