Tallahassee Tiger Sharks (4-6-0) at Augusta Lynx (2-8-0)
When: 7:05 p.m.
Where: Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center
Radio: WGOR-FM 93.9
Tiger Sharks -- Coach Terry Christensen is back in Tallahassee after one season with the Miami Matadors. Christensen coached the Sharks for four seasons, posting a 141-114-23 mark. ... RW Olivier Morin is tied for team lead in scoring (10 goals-5 assists-15 points) along with LW Derek Paget (3-12-15). Morin is third in league in goals, while Paget enters with a nine-game points streak. ... Top returning player RW Brent Cullaton (23-38-61 last season) is off to slow start (4-4-8, minus-5 rating). ... Goaltending has been suspect with Ian Perkins (3-2-0, 4.18 GAA) and Chris Wickenheiser (1-4-0, 4.45). ... Sharks begin stretch of five games in 10 days, all on the road, their longest trip of the season. ... Power-play ranks 19th in league (16.3 percent). ... Penalty-killing unit ranks 25th (75.6). ... Are winless on the road (0-3-0). Averaging 4.10 goals per game, 4th in the ECHL. ... Sharks defenseman Alex LaPorte was the first captain in Lynx history before being traded in January with Garry Gruber for Mark Desantis.
Lynx -- Coming off 1-6-0 road trip and seven losses in last eight games. .. . Lynx are 2-0-0 vs. Tallahassee this season -- a 6-5 win at home on Oct. 16 and a 5-2 win on the road Oct. 30. ... Lynx power play ranks 25th in league (12.2 percent). ... Penalty-killing unit ranks 10th (84.3). ... Next-to-last in league in goals-against (4.64 per game) and last in shots-against (39.2). ... Augusta is 1-6-0 when trailing after two periods. ... RW Jonas Soling leads team in scoring (5 goals-7 assists-12 points). ... C Lars Pettersen is only other player with at least 10 points (4-8-12). ... Soling is the only regular on the roster with a plus rating (plus-1). ... Goalie Mike Valley played well in relief of J-F Damphousse in loss to Jacksonville on Friday and again in loss at Pensacola on Saturday, stopping 48 of 53 shots in 4 1/2 periods of action. .. . C Stewart Bodtker and RW Paul Ferone make their Lynx season debut tonight after being reassigned from Syracuse (AHL). ... Lynx placed D Clint Cabana on injured reserve on Monday (ankle).
NOTES AND QUOTES
Never in a million years did Stacey Rayan think he would return to the Augusta Lynx.
"This was the last place I expected to be," said the 27-year-old center, acquired by the Lynx on Monday from the Mobile Mysticks for cash and future considerations. "It's funny how things happen."
Under rookie coach Dan Wiebe in 1997-98, Rayan enjoyed a solid rookie season with the Raleigh IceCaps, scoring 24 goals and adding 24 assists in 64 games.
The Edmonton, Alberta, native was invited to the inaugural Lynx camp in October 1998, but did not perform up to Wiebe's expectations and did not make the club. He later signed with Mobile, and though his season was cut short by a fractured vertebrae, he fit in nicely, scoring 10 goals with 26 assists for 36 points in 44 games.
Rayan and the Mysticks were unable to come to terms on a contract for this season, but under ECHL rules, the team retained his rights, meaning he was unable to sign with another team as a free agent.
"They wouldn't let me go for nothing because it's not the smart business way to do it, but they would let me go through a trade," said Rayan, who will make his Lynx debut tonight vs. Tallahassee. "So I called (Lynx defenseman Dan) Kopec one day which led to me coming back. It seems like a good fit because I know some of the guys and I know Wieber, and he knows what I can do."
Though he has been skating with his former college team back home, Rayan hasn't seen game action in nine months, so Wiebe says don't expect much at first from the 5-foot-9, 180-pound pivot.
"He had an all right season in Mobile, and he adds a skill element that we needed," Wiebe said. "We'll have to monitor him at first and make sure he takes short shifts, but he looks to be in good shape physically. I think he's eventually going to help."
"When I talked to Stacey, I told Dan he was a guy who was willing to come play and is a quality player who can get you 25 goals," said Kopec, a teammate of Rayan's in Raleigh. "Any time you can add quality player and give up very little, you've got to do it. At this time of year, talent is hard to find."
Stewart Bodtker is not a savior, but for the struggling Lynx, he is a reasonable facsimile.
After missing the first six weeks of the season with knee and foot injuries, the 23-year-old center rejoined the Lynx on Tuesday after the Vancouver Canucks assigned him from Syracuse of the AHL. The seventh-round pick in the 1995 draft had an outstanding rookie season in Augusta last year with his vast potential as a rookie with the Lynx last season, scoring 17 goals with 15 assists for 32 points in 47 games.
"I'm excited to be back," said Bodtker, who recorded the second hat trick in team history and tied a RaleighAugusta franchise record with a six-point game last February vs. New Orleans. "I know I can play here and get ice time, and it's going to be fun to get into game situation again. This team is struggling right now, and it will be a challenge to try and help get it turned around. I think it's going to be fun."
The Lynx waived winger Hank Kuster on Tuesday. The 22-year-old, who coming off reconstructive knee surgery last February, had one goal and one assist with a minus-6 rating in nine games this season. Kuster, a second-round draft pick by Boston in 1996, was not re-signed by the New Jersey Devils over the summer. "He's a great kid who worked hard to come back from surgery," Wiebe said, "but he hadn't done much, and I unfortunately didn't have time to wait for him to start producing." ... On Monday, the Lynx suspended winger Mike Murray for not reporting to the team. Murray, a 31-goal scorer last season, was acquired on Saturday from Louisiana for Jessie Rezansoff. Wiebe said on Tuesday he is trying to trade Murray's rights for another veteran goal scorer. "I've got a few things working," Wiebe said. "I obviously want to make something happen as soon as possible, but I'm also not going to jump at the first player handed to me."
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