The Augusta Lynx's first real test comes tonight against the Pee Dee Pride.
They will be graded on how they fare after the first defeat of the season on the verge of a five-game road trip. After tonight's 7:35 game, the Lynx will be on the road until Nov. 10 when the Jacksonville Lizard Kings return to the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center.
Coach Dan Wiebe's team is anxious to get back on the ice after Thursday's 5-3 loss to the Miami Matadors.
"We have to focus at home," Wiebe said. "It will bring out the true colors of the players. It will be a good evaluation for me to see how guys react to playing on the road.
"The guys are ready to get back and erase the memory of (Thursday) night."
The Lynx will have a new player when they hit the ice tonight. Chris Thompson, a free-agent signee of the New Jersey Devils, comes to Augusta from the Albany (N.Y.) River Rats of the American Hockey League.
Thomson is a 20-year-old right winger. The 6-foot, 180-pounder scored 16 goals and had 32 assists in 70 games last season for the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League. Thomson adds another physical presence for the Lynx -- he compiled 339 penalty minutes for the Thunderbirds last year.
"He finishes his checks in the offensive zone," Wiebe said. "He's smart defensively and he's not afraid of playing tough. He's going to help our club."
The Lynx begin their road trip at Birmingham Oct. 29. They will practice at home until then. The National Barrel Horse Association World Championships will take over the Civic Center Nov. 2-7 and the ice must be melted prior to the races. The Lynx are still searching for a place to practice following their game at New Orleans next Saturday.
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