After toiling through a five-game losing streak, the Augusta RiverHawks found a little relief by winning two of their past three games. They are expecting added relief as the lines finally come together this week.
Right winger Dennis Sicard will return from a five-game suspension Thursday at Fayetteville. The suspension was handed down following Sicard’s fight with Knoxville’s Dan Bremner after regulation Dec. 22. Sicard has four goals and six assists in 22 games this season.
The RiverHawks saw defenseman Curtis Megginson return from injured reserve Friday. The 23-year-old had six assists in 15 games prior to a groin injury that dated back to November.
“For not playing for a month, he was fine,” interim coach Mark Richards said. “Curtis is a competitor. He battles every shift.”
With those two returning, Richards said it will be the first time a combination of Sicard, Taylor McReynolds and Kyle Watson will play together.
“We envisioned having a line of certain guys, and I think Thursday will be the first game where we have that line together, so we’ll see how it goes,” Richards said.
SIZE MATTERS: Richards, as well as the players, continue to stress the need to improve offensively in an attempt to rebound in the second half of the season. The RiverHawks are eighth in goals scored with just one goal separating them from last place in the category, and they have a rate of 2.37 goals per game.
The team has praised the addition of left winger Alex Morton as a contributor on offense. The 25-year-old, acquired Dec. 29, has given a line, including leading scorers Shawn Skelly and Ian Watters, a sizable presence.
Morton, at 6-3 and 210 pounds, is listed as the biggest combination of height and weight on the team. He has one assist through three games with Augusta since his signing.
“The combination of Watters, Skelly, Morton has been solid for us lately,” Richards said. “Morton has really helped Skelly. We need that balanced attack every night to be successful.”
FAMILIAR FOE: When the RiverHawks and FireAntz face off Thursday, it will be the eighth meeting between the two this season, the most between two teams in the SPHL. As a result, the RiverHawks are one of three teams with two or more wins against the second-place FireAntz, posting a 2-5 record against them.
The FireAntz lead the league with 3.59 goals per game. However, they have lost five in a row dating back to Augusta’s 3-2 win Dec. 29, knocking them out of first place and sitting two points behind Pensacola. Over that span, the FireAntz have averaged 2.4 goals per game.