As the final horn sounded, goalie Jon Olthuis waved his teammate over and scooped up the puck with his glove.
Though Olthuis was facing the Southern Professional Hockey League's worst team and needed only 21 saves to get the win, he considered the game puck worth keeping. It marked the 25-year-old rookie's first shutout as a professional.
"You try to battle it out of your head when you're out there. You can't be thinking about it. You've got to stay in the present as much as you can," Olthuis said. "It's always nice to get a shutout, but those things happen when the team's playing well and you're playing well."
The IceGators, who underwent a coaching change after a 7-19 start, suffered their league-record 14th consecutive loss. Twice they gave up short-handed goals in the third period and failed to get a shot off on a five-minute power play late in the game.
"It's not always easy playing a team that's in last place. They're hard games to get motivated for. I was very disappointed with our start, obviously," RiverHawks coach Brad Ralph said. "But I thought as the game went on we stuck to it and got better at the little things. We tightened up a bit, and I think it paid off at the end. I was pleased with the way the guys finished."
The IceGators (7-24) found no answer to Olthuis, who picked up his fifth win in a row.
"He played well. He's very consistent, and he works hard every night," Ralph said. "It was a well-deserved shutout for him."
Late in the first period Augusta (15-13) forward Lucas LaBelle one-timed a rebound over to an open Aaron Boyer, who scored his first goal with the RiverHawks for a 1-0 lead.
Jason Price added a power play goal in the second period, and Brandon Kosolofsky had an even-strength goal in the third.
Jason Dolgy had a pair of short-handed goals.