The RiverHawks will travel to Knoxville, Tenn., tonight in a rematch of Saturday’s overtime loss for Augusta.
Knoxville (2-2) has taken advantage of two games that extended beyond regulation. After beating the RiverHawks in overtime, the Ice Bears defeated Columbus 2-1 in a shootout on Tuesday.
For the RiverHawks, Saturday’s loss meant an 0-3-1 record. They have held a lead just once in four games, 1-0 against Knoxville. Coach Rob Miller said tonight’s rematch is a crucial early-season game.
“It’s a huge game. We’re playing the same team we just lost to in overtime,” Miller said. “It’s an important game, almost a must-win.”
Although the team has allowed 14 goals in four games, Augusta’s main issue is an offense that has created just 96 shots compared to the opposition’s 142.
However, the overtime loss to Knoxville provided a ray of hope during a troubling start to the season. Augusta was outshot by four and tied for the most shot attempts this season at 30. While converting just two into goals, Miller said he is seeing progress.
“I’m happy that we gave ourselves a chance to win,” he said. “A bounce here and a bounce there and we lost in overtime. But every game we’ve progressed in the right direction.”
The bright spot on offense has been Kyle Watson and Chad Ziegler, who have totaled six points on two goals and four assists.
Miller noted that, despite the rough start, the team has a long road ahead and plenty of time to make up ground.
“It’s a 56-game season. It’s not like we’re fighting for a playoff spot,” he said. “It’s a long season and eventually we’ll get out of the funk.”