RiverHawks drop 1st game at home

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Augusta hockey fans got their first look at the new minor league hockey team in town, just as head coach Brad Ralph got his last look at his players' on-ice effort against an opponent Saturday night in a RiverHawks' exhibition game against Fayetteville.

Augusta's Brett Dickenson (right) and Fayetteville's Brett Needham battle for control of the puck on Saturday night.  Michael Holahan/Staff
Michael Holahan/Staff
Augusta's Brett Dickenson (right) and Fayetteville's Brett Needham battle for control of the puck on Saturday night.

The preseason game, played in front of a crowd of 674 spectators at James Brown Arena, ended in a 7-3 FireAntz win, their second over the RiverHawks in as many nights. The game was the final exhibition before Augusta opens its inaugural season in the Southern Professional Hockey League this week.

Ralph said he wasn't satisfied with the results.

"It's early, and we were playing guys to try to give them an opportunity to show what they have," Ralph said. "I'm not overly happy with what I've seen."

Ralph said there's a possibility he will add a few more names to the training camp roster before whittling the list down to 18 for the season opener Thursday at Fayetteville.

"We will straighten this up by next week," he said.

The 20 prospects who dressed for Saturday's game included newcomers Tony Iaquinto and Tyler Czuba.

Ralph paired the two on the team's second line, which produced the RiverHawks' first goal of the night five minutes into the first period.

Czuba's score tied the game at 1, but the FireAntz reclaimed the lead with three goals in a row. Augusta was outscored 4-2 over the final two periods.

Jonathan Olthuis started the game in goal for Augusta and made 11 saves on 14 shots in almost 30 minutes of play. Jordan McLaughlin took over in the second period and allowed four goals on just nine shots.

The two teams played fight-free through the first two periods after a Friday night exhibition game that saw 27 infractions result in 141 penalty minutes.

Ralph said forwards Mike Byrd, Bryan Black and Dave Lawrence and defenseman Derek Robinson were released after the game.

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smithers1
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smithers1 10/17/10 - 08:50 am
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674 people?!?!?!? Seriously

674 people?!?!?!? Seriously folks....Y'all are excited to see hockey back in Augusta, with that showing, they aren't going to stay long!!!!!

Hoser
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Hoser 10/17/10 - 09:49 am
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Ummmmm, smithers........it

Ummmmm, smithers........it was a preseason game........jus' saying'

TheChairman
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TheChairman 10/17/10 - 11:13 am
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Enjoy Hockey for the few

Enjoy Hockey for the few weeks it lasts.... just sayin

thrashman85
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thrashman85 10/17/10 - 12:17 pm
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Those of us who attented Lynx

Those of us who attented Lynx preseason games know that this crowd was bigger than a few Lynx crowds weve had. I dont think its anything to be concerned with.

airbud7
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airbud7 10/17/10 - 12:32 pm
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♪Put me in coach im ready to

♪Put me in coach im ready to play♪

sjgraci
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sjgraci 10/17/10 - 01:43 pm
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I expected a 1,000 people for

I expected a 1,000 people for the pre-season game just because it's been a while since hockey was played in Augusta. Still, 674 is not a bad showing for a game that was not heavily publicised. It was also better attended than several Lynx pre-season games. It's not unusual to see only the truest die-hards show up for any pre-season game to watch players who won't be there the next day. It was a scrimmage. I'll take a scrimmage over no hockey any day. Hockey's Back!

pommom38
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pommom38 10/17/10 - 01:44 pm
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Lol Airbud. Everyone needs to

Lol Airbud.

Everyone needs to just wait and see how opening weekend goes:)
Will accomadate over 6000 for hockey, so we shall see!
I'm going because I promised to *try it out* since I hate sports. Who knows, I may find I love hockey!!

thrashman85
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thrashman85 10/17/10 - 02:00 pm
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This is the perfect location

This is the perfect location for this particular league. Ask any casual fan and they will tell you they go for the fights and this team/league will have plenty of it. If we can get more casual fans in the house, theres no doubt they will be back more often.

pommom38
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pommom38 10/17/10 - 02:07 pm
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Haha.. Get out of my mind

Haha.. Get out of my mind thrash!!
That is EXACTLY why I watch it on tv, (very little) and looking forward to see how many take place over the weekend.
I just commented last night as to hockey has to be THE most unsportsmanship game out there. I guess i'll never get why they insist on beating each other up, guess it goes hand in hand with hockey!?

thrashman85
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thrashman85 10/17/10 - 02:32 pm
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Believe it or not there is a

Believe it or not there is a lot of sportsmanship in hockey. 90% of the fights have a code or unwritten rules if you will. If the other player gets hurt during the fight, you dont punch anymore. A lot of guys remove there helmets before a fight, when they fall to the ice thats the end of the fight. Several others but it gets the point across. Lol I think this league will be far more exciting than the ECHL and the Lynx were.

bdouglas
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bdouglas 10/19/10 - 01:21 pm
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I was one of the 674 there

I was one of the 674 there and had a front row seat on the glass. I've gotta say I didn't see any sportsmanship at all. The Riverhawks guys were fairly tame, but the other team was really cocky, foul-mouthed and played pretty dirty from what I saw and heard. Not to mention their little 10 person or so cheering section that came to the game and constantly chanted "You suck!" and other less flattering things towards the Riverhawks the entire game. Maybe not that big of a deal if there are a couple thousand people there, but with less than 700 it was all quite intelligible, as were the words thrown out from their players, too. No sort of post-game handshakes or high fives with the other team or coaches, either. Just get off the ice and ignore the other team.

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