With two home games this weekend – starting tonight against Pensacola – the RiverHawks are seeking momentum as they near the halfway point of the season.
Augusta shocked first-place Fayetteville this past Saturday by tying it late in regulation and winning in overtime. With the win, the RiverHawks snapped a five-game losing streak and sit six points behind Huntsville for eighth place.
“We’ve played them well all year,” interim coach Mark Richards said. “To come back and tie the game late and get a chance to win in overtime, we needed it. We had lost five in a row, so hopefully it’s a confidence booster.”
With 25 games in the books, the RiverHawks have had two five-game losing streaks, both counting as the longest in the league this season. However, unlike the previous streak at the beginning of the season, changes have been made in an attempt to right the ship with 31 games left.
Goaltender Austin Lee and left winger Alex Morton were signed after a Dec. 27 loss to Fayetteville. Lee has started both games since his signing, and allowed just two goals in the win over Fayetteville. Morton made his debut in that game, recording an assist.
Another key to the second half could be captain Matt Auffrey. After scoring 22 goals in 56 games for the RiverHawks last season, Auffrey had only two goals through the first 21 games this year. However, he has three goals in his past four games, averaging five shot attempts per game over the past six games.
“I’m a bigger guy, so I always take a while to get going,” Auffrey said. “I’m kind of a late bloomer; I always have a better second half. So I look forward to that.”
Augusta and Pensacola will square off tonight at 7:35 p.m. at James Brown Arena. The Ice Flyers are second in the SPHL with 14 wins and 30 points. The RiverHawks will face Columbus on Saturday.