It takes a lot to get a guy like Darren Colbourne down. But for the past week or so, the Lynx player assistant coach was about as low as one can get.
The wisecracking had been replaced by talk of his own failures. The sheepish grins he would flash with such regularity around the locker room when the team was off to a 6-1 start were usurped by blank and distant stares into space.
Maybe Colbourne forgot for a while just how correlative his own success is to his team's fortune. He rediscovered a sense of self-worth Wednesday night as the Lynx snapped a five-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory over the first-place Pee Dee Pride at the Civic Center.
His second-period goal did more than tie the game 2-2. Though it was Jaroslav Obsut's goal early in the third period that proved the game-winner, it was Colbourne's tally that gave the struggling Lynx the emotional boost they needed.
"From a team standpoint, that goal really got us going," said Colbourne's linemate Bryan Duce, who assisted on the goal. "We seemed real excited after that and we just rolled from there."
The goal ended a six-game scoreless drought for Colbourne and, more importantly, was the 300th of his ECHL career, making him only the second player in league history to reach the milestone.
"My job is to score goals and I hadn't been doing my job lately," said Colbourne, who finished with eight shots-on-goal Wednesday, by far his best showing in weeks. "All I can ask for is a chance to put the puck in the net and when I get chances and I don't bury them, it's my fault. It felt great to get to 300, but it felt even better to do something to help this team win an important game."
With another tough road swing beginning tonight against the Greenville Grrrowl, it was indeed a crucial victory for the Lynx (9-9-1). Coach Dan Wiebe said a sixth straight loss to send the team back on the road would have been tough to overcome.
Augusta is 1-5-1 in their last seven road games.
"This win was exactly what we needed," Wiebe said. "We needed a strong effort, and though it came a lot harder than I would have liked, at the same time everyone pulled together and worked hard.
"We're not off the schnied yet, though" he added. "We've got three games in three nights."
After tonight's game, the Lynx will travel almost 700 miles to Fort Myers, Fla., where they will take on the Florida Everblades on Saturday. After the inaugural meeting between the teams, the Lynx truck it across the state to take on the Miami Matadors on Sunday.
"The whole organization is feeling pressure right now, with guys on this team not sure of their jobs anymore, and that type of thing," said center Lars Pettersen, who turned in one of his best performances of the season Wednesday and also had an assist on Colbourne's goal. "We knew this was a big game for us and we especially didn't want to fall two games below .500, so it was nice to get back on track."