Pensacola (5-2-1) took advantage of a power play goal late in the second period to take the lead for good, and Augusta’s losing skid was extended to seven in a 5-3 loss Friday night.
Augusta (0-6-1) began the game by taking more aggressive shots, outshooting Pensacola 15-11 in the first period. Beyond that, the Ice Flyers made it tough on the RiverHawks to find shot attempts, combining on 17 for the final two periods.
“We had been laying back, especially in line changes, and tonight was a revamp of our plan,” coach Rob Miller said. “We came out more aggressive and it worked for us to an extent. But again, we didn’t get bounces and our power plays were terrible. That’s what killed us.”
The Ice Flyers started the scoring 4 minutes into the first period when a close shot from Brent Clarke snuck by goalie BJ O’Brien’s left side. The RiverHawks quickly responded a minute later with a slap shot from Matt Puntureri that found the net, his second on the season.
However, Pensacola broke the tie on its second goal with 40 seconds left in the period when left winger Patrick Knowlton beat O’Brien on the left side.
Augusta’s Justin Daniels recorded his first goal of the season midway through the second period to tie the game at two, but again, the Ice Flyers responded, taking a 3-2 lead with 3 minutes remaining in the period on Knowlton’s second goal.
Pensacola extended its lead to three in the third period before Augusta closed the game with its third goal, Chad Ziegler’s second on the season.
"It’s hard to stay upbeat,” Miller said. “We did for a while, but after the fourth goal, it was a fluky one that trickled past. That’s the kind of luck we’ve had all year long.
“I’ve never been a part of anything like this.”
Augusta was 0 for 5 in power plays, but Pensacola faired only slightly better, going 1 for 5. The RiverHawks managed to hold the Ice Flyers to 22 shot attempts, including just four in the second period. However, they made the most of their attempts.
“We’re more effective when we’re aggressive,” Miller said. “We haven’t played at 100 percent for 60 minutes yet, and the next game is a good time to start.”