HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The Huntsville Havoc and the Augusta RiverHawks are having a tough time separating from each other.
Perhaps that’s why it’s not surprising the two teams are headed back to Augusta to play the deciding game of their best-of-3 first-round Southern Professional Hockey League playoff series.
After the RiverHawks won Wednesday night’s game in overtime, the eighth-seeded Havoc returned the favor, beating the top-seeded RiverHawks 4-3 in OT.
The Havoc forced the extra period in much the same manner as the RiverHawks did in Game 1.
Colin Reddin beat Jon Olthuis with 51 seconds in regulation, just moments after pulling goaltender Mark Sibbald.Mike MacDonald then delivered a laser past the stick of Olthuis with 13:37 remaining in overtime.
Just moments before MacDonald’s game-winner, Sibbald stopped a penalty shot by Augusta’s Neil Graham.
Sibbald had 32 saves, and Olthuis finished with 23.
After a scoreless first period, the two teams went on a early second-period scoring flurry. Augusta broke through first when Egor Mironov beat Sibbald a little more than two minutes into the second. Huntsville, however, answered quickly, getting a Reddin one-timer off of a Justin Fox pass a minute later.
Less than two minutes after Reddin’s goal, he returned the favor to Fox, who sent the puck past Olthuis. The Havoc’s lead proved to be short-lived, though, as Matt Auffrey scored with 12:15 remaining in the period.
Left wing Jim Gehring gave Augusta its first lead since the opening period with a wrist shot that beat Sibbald glove side 5:24 into the third.
It looked as though the lead might hold up going into the game’s final minute, but the Havoc converted with the extra attacker, just as the RiverHawks did on Wednesday.
The two teams will decide the series at 7:30 tonight at James Brown Arena.