Rank outlasts Moss as Fayetteville FireAntz top Augusta RiverHawks

FireAntz 3, RiverHawks 2

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In a battle of goaltenders having different types of seasons, it was the one without a win in nearly two months that pulled out the victory Sunday.

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Riverhawks players celebrate a goal by Jesse Echternach that tied the game at 1 during the first period.   JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
Riverhawks players celebrate a goal by Jesse Echternach that tied the game at 1 during the first period.

The Fayetteville FireAntz rode the success of goalie Kyle Rank to a 3-2 win over the Augusta RiverHawks at James Brown Arena.

Rank, who hadn’t won a game since Dec. 27, stopped 22 of 24 shots and improved to 3-0-1 against the RiverHawks this season.

Rank, who is a backup to Marco Emond, picked up his fifth win.

The two goals given up by Rank tied for his fewest allowed in at least 60 minutes of play this season.

“It definitely wasn’t as wide open,” said coach Mark Richards in comparison to Saturday’s 4-1 win. “We weren’t able to use our speed, and didn’t get the same opportunities as last night.”

Augusta goalie Robert Moss stopped 25 of 27 shots, with Fayetteville’s third goal coming on an empty net. Moss’ three-game winning streak was snapped despite continuing a streak of allowing fewer than three goals in a game that spans four games.

“He’s been good for us all year,” Richards said. “He’s been really consistent and always keeps us in the game.”

Fayetteville (26-14-3) started the scoring 9 minutes into the first period when John Clewlow found a Corey Toy pass from behind the net and slapped it past Moss, giving the FireAntz a 1-0 lead.

Augusta (15-25-3) struck back late in the first period on a Jesse Echternach goal to tie the game at 1 after one period.

It was Echternach’s third goal in two games.

After a scoreless second period that saw a combined 21 shots on net, the third period remained tight throughout. The FireAntz received a fortunate go-ahead goal early in the period when Anthony Bergin missed wide, but the puck ricocheted off the board, hit Moss in the back and bounced in.

Fayetteville scored a third goal on an empty net with 1 minute left in the game, which was Clewlow’s second goal. Augusta fought back with a sixth skater to score with 8 seconds left, as Marcus Pryde found net on an assist from Matt Auffrey. However, the RiverHawks ran out of time.

AUFFREY’S SON DIES

Wyatt Auffrey, the7-week-old son of RiverHawks captain Matt Auffrey, died Saturday.

Auffrey, who returned to the team Saturday after being
sent to Florida on loan the day before, shared hugs with family and friends along with wife Whitney Auffrey near the locker room following Saturday’s
win.

He was named the player of the game Saturday and made
a brief appearance in front of fans, who gave him a standing ovation. Auffrey had an assist Sunday.

“Words cannot begin to express the sadness the players, staff, and ownership of the Augusta RiverHawks are experiencing upon learning of the sudden passing of Matt and Whitney Auffrey’s son, Wyatt,” RiverHawks president and coach Mark Richards said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Matt and Whitney at this time, and we are focused on providing whatever support we can to help the family through this difficult time.”

The cause of death was still unknown Sunday night.

– David Lee, staff writer

FAYETTEVILLE 3, AUGUSTA 2

STAR OF THE GAME: Fayetteville goalie Kyle Rank stopped 22 of 24 shots for his third win against Augusta.

KEY PLAY: Fayetteville’s Anthony Bergin received a fortunate bounce on the go-ahead goal early in the third period.

NEXT: Augusta at Columbus, Friday, 7:30 p.m.


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