Augusta goalie Robert Moss and his Mississippi counterpart Kiefer Smiley entered Saturday’s game not having allowed a goal in their past five combined periods. The two proved just as effective facing each other for the second consecutive game.
In a tight, defensive struggle, the Mississippi Surge were able to pull out a 2-1 overtime win at James Brown Arena at the end of what was otherwise a strong three-game stretch for the Augusta RiverHawks, winning two of three this week.
“We’ll take this type of play every week,” interim coach Mark Richards said. “It was a disappointing game, but looking at the big picture, with the momentum we’ve built and playing better, I think the guys are buying in.”
Moss entered Saturday on the momentum of a Friday shutout against Mississippi, and he had not allowed a goal in his past four periods dating back to Thursday against Fayetteville. He was a combined 39 for 39 entering Saturday and was 17 for 17 before allowing a goal in the third period.
“He should be player of the week,” Richards said. “He has played phenomenal and given us a chance to win. We’re confident and proud of him.”
Smiley relieved Mississippi goalie Dan Clark for the final period of Friday’s game and did not allow a goal in 12 shot attempts. He took that momentum into his first start since Dec. 1 and shut the RiverHawks out for two periods before also allowing a goal in the third.
The Surge found net 5:43 into the third period to break the scoreless tie. James Isaacs hit a slap shot toward the goal that bounced off RiverHawks defender Ian Jensen and into the net.
Augusta responded with 7:23 left when Dennis Sicard found the puck off a defensive bounce and tied it at 1-1.
In overtime, Moss and Smiley fought and withstood several shot attempts on both sides until Mississippi’s Tommy Lange found net 3:56 into the period for a Surge win.
Moss went 26 for 28 for the RiverHawks, while Smiley went 35 for 36 for the Surge.
“We’re a blue collar team,” Moss said. “We have to work hard every shift, and playing this much takes some energy out of us. We play a demanding, physical brand of hockey. But kudos to the guys for playing as well as they did this week.”