Rookie helps RiverHawks take down Surge

Augusta 5, Mississippi 3

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Chris Doyle scored again. Chris Doyle assisted again. And the Augusta RiverHawks won again.

The rookie forward extended his assist streak to 10 games and scored for the sixth consecutive game with a pair of third-period goals in a 5-2 win over the Mississippi Surge.

The defending Southern Professional Hockey League champion Surge got a key power play goal with 12 minutes left that tied the game at 2. But Doyle scored twice in a span of 76 seconds and Matt Auffrey added an empty-netter to lift the first-place RiverHawks (12-3-1) to their fourth win in five games.

Doyle has posted eight goals in his six-game scoring streak and moved into a tie for first place among the league’s rookies with 11 goals.

“He certainly brings something different to our team,” Augusta coach Brad Ralph said. “You can put him on the point on the power play, and he’s a shooter. You look for those type of guys.”

Former RiverHawks forward Chris Campanale, who made the Opening Day roster but was released after two weeks, was signed by the Surge (6-7-0) on Thursday and scored the game’s first goal six minutes in.

But the RiverHawks lived up to their newly-developed reputation as a comeback team by scoring twice in the second period and three times in the third to boost their league-leading goals scored total to 63 in 16 games.

Augusta widened its lead in the league standings back to five points, negating the previous night’s loss to second-place Knoxville.

“Last night was a tough one,” Doyle said. “So we knew we had to come out and redeem ourselves. For me, it’s just sticking with the basics and staying mentally focused. You have to be ready for every game in this league.”

Forward Aaron McGill scored Augusta’s first goal midway through the second period before he and defenseman Kyle Watson were dealt game misconducts after a fight later in the period.

Doyle’s linemate, Dustin Cloutier, gave the River­Hawks a 2-1 lead late in the second period with his seventh goal.

Rookie goalie B.J. O’Brien made 26 saves for his third win in five starts.

AUGUSTA 5, MISSISSIPPI 3

PLAY OF THE GAME: RiverHawks forward Chris Doyle put the perfect touch on a chip pass that got over the stick of a defenseman and settled in front of Dustin Cloutier, who finished the goal for a 2-1 second-period lead.

STAR OF THE GAME: Doyle scored twice and added an assist to maintain his status as the league’s top producing rookie with 26 points.

NEXT: 7:35 p.m. Thursday, Augusta RiverHawks vs. Huntsville Havoc


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