RiverHawks struggle in loss to Ice Bears

Knoxville 4, Augusta 1

A handful of fans delivered a weak round of applause Saturday night as the Augusta RiverHawks exited the ice.

The team that’s struggled to generate any offense this season continued its old ways. Despite winning their first game of the season Friday, Augusta fell flat in its return to James Brown Arena.

Knoxville scored three goals in the pivotal second period to pull away for a 4-1 victory.

Augusta (1-9-1), which ended a three-game stretch, scored on just one of its three power-play chances, an early goal by William Lacasse. The offensive drought came one night after the RiverHawks defeated Huntsville, 4-0, though Augusta did not score a goal in a 5-on-5 situation the past three games.

“We had one line going all weekend long. One line,” RiverHawks coach Rob Miller said. “We keep waiting for people to step it up. They have to do it at some point.”

Augusta’s Matt Auffrey was the team’s top returning scorer with 63 points on 22 goals last season. He failed to score a point in the past three games and has just two points (one goal, one assist) in 11 games.

Alternate captains Jason Price and Dennis Sicard, a pair of 27-year-old veterans, have yet to get it going as well, the pair combining for two goals and five points.

RiverHawks owner Bob Kerzner remains optimistic about the team, stating all the right pieces are in place. Kerzner said the rookies are making college mistakes, but the older guys need to step up.

“We’ve got to get our vets going,” Kerzner said. “They’re not scoring. They’re not putting the puck in
the net.”

Kerzner gave Miller a vote of confidence, stating his success the past two seasons in the Federal Hockey League. Kerzner was in the locker room getting coffee between the first and second periods, overhearing what Miller told his team. Kerzner said he agreed with everything the first-year Augusta coach said.

“As a coach it gets frustrating I’m sure when he’s telling them the right things and some of the guys either aren’t understanding him or not hearing him,” Kerzner said.

ICE BEARS 4, RIVERHAWKS 1

STAR OF THE GAME: Tyler Fernandez had a goal and two assists to pace Knoxville.

KEY PLAY: At the 9:28 mark in the second period, Ricky Helmbrecht scored in traffic in front of the goal to stake the Ice Bears to a 3-1 lead.

NEXT: Fayetteville at Augusta, 7:35 p.m. Thursday.

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