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.
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.