Augusta RiverHawks fall to Knoxville IceBears

Knoxville 3, Augusta 2 (OT)

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Though his team dropped a heart-breaker Saturday night, Augusta coach Rob Miller said his players are close to playing his brand of hockey.

Miller said he was encouraged by the RiverHawks’ play, despite a 3-2 overtime loss to Knoxville at James Brown Arena.

“It’s getting there,” he said. “I was happy today. We can tighten up in our D-zone a little bit, but our dumps on puck possession in the offensive zone was 10 times better than any of the other previous games.”

Augusta struggled again to find any offense and fell to 0-3-1. The RiverHawks, who resume action in five days when it plays at Knoxville (2-1), was out-shot for the fourth time this season, 34-30.

Goalie B.J. O’Brien, who played seven games for the RiverHawks last season and was re-signed three days earlier, blocked 31 of 34 shots. One of the three goals allowed came on a power play in the second period, another off a deflection off Matt Auffrey’s stick and the final one on a unfortunate play for the RiverHawks late in overtime.

After an Augusta player slipped and fell in the defensive zone, O’Brien faced a 2-on-1. Scott rifled a pass from Mike Towns inside the right post with 45 seconds remaining for the win.

Though the RiverHawks remain winless, they did pick up a point with the overtime contest.

“We deserved to win the game,” Miller said. “Everybody played good up and down the line, from our goalie out. It was just a bad break at the end.”

At the 18:12 mark in the second period, Ian Watters jammed the puck past Connor Toomey (28 saves) to give the RiverHawks their first lead of the season at 1-0. Augusta held the lead for almost 15 minutes, until Knoxville struck on a power play. Emery Olauson beat O’Brien to knot the game at 1-all.

ICEBEARS 3, RIVERHAWKS 2, OT

STAR OF THE GAME: Emery Olausen recorded three points for Knoxville.

KEY PLAY: With 45 seconds left in overtime, Berkley Scott fired the game-winner past Augusta goalie B.J. O’Brien.

NEXT: Augusta at Knoxville, 7:35 p.m., Friday.


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