Mark Richards, who originally filled in as coach of the Augusta RiverHawks on an interim basis, will assume coaching duties for the foreseeable future, team owner Bob Kerzner said.
Richards, who also serves as the team president, stepped in as coach after Rob Miller was fired following Augusta’s 1-9-1 start this season.
Miller was working in his first season as RiverHawks coach.
Kerzner said he called captain Matt Auffrey a couple weeks ago to get a pulse of the locker room in response to Richards’ coaching, anticipating the need for a meeting to determine the future of the position.
“Matt said no meeting was needed,” Kerzner said. “The answer has been very positive about Mark. So we’re keeping him where he’s at. We’ve been playing better hockey with him as coach, so Mark is staying.”
Since Richards took over Nov. 27, the RiverHawks’ record is 8-9-2. They have scored 2.9 goals per game while allowing 3.2 per game, an increase of more than one goal scored per game over that span.
POWER PLAY: Augusta saw a bump in their power-play numbers over the weekend after experiencing success in two home wins.
Augusta recorded three power-play goals in two games, including two in Friday’s 5-4 win over Columbus. They added their third to start the scoring in Saturday’s 4-3 shootout win over the Mississippi RiverKings.
The RiverHawks moved up to fifth in power-play percentage at 15.6 percent.
Augusta has scored multiple power-play goals in four games this season, including a season-high three in a Nov. 23 win over Huntsville.
MOVING ON UP: The RiverHawks continue to feel the impact of the NHL’s impending season, losing a fourth player to a higher level since the beginning of January.
Defenseman Drew Baker, who was in his third season with Augusta, was loaned to the Gwinnett Gladiators of the ECHL on Saturday.
Baker, who started 56 games for Augusta last season, had nine points in 29 games this season before getting called up. He has played two games with Gwinnett.
“It’s tough when you have changes in the lineup,” Richards said. “We are fighting for wins, and it can be tough.”