Originally created 12/03/99

Lynx lose in overtime



FLORENCE, S.C. -- When he looked around the dressing room during the first intermission, with the Lynx already down by three goals against one of the league's powerhouse teams, goalie Judd Lambert wasn't sure which group it was sitting there before him.

Were they the old Lynx, the ones who foundered around in a funk for almost a month and dropped 11 of 12 games? Or were these the new Lynx, the ones who rediscovered their confidence last week after closing out a grueling road swing with two straight wins?

Though in the end, the Pee Dee Pride came away with a 5-4 shootout victory, Lambert knows now which group showed up at the Florence Civic Center Thursday night.

"If you go around the room and tell every guy after the first period it would end up 4-4 at the end of regulation, I'm not sure what they would have said," Lambert said.

"But we dealt with the mental challenge of getting behind three goals early, and we showed we can play with any team in the league if we have a good mindset and a good attitude."

In a building in which they had never taken away a point in the standings, much less a victory, the Lynx got both this time, albeit a morale victory rather than on the scoreboard.

Augusta (5-14-2) pulled even with the mighty Pride on second-period goals by Chris Thompson, Sandy Lamarre and Lars Pettersen. After a scoreless third period, in which Lambert made several key saves to preserve the tie, the Lynx came up just short in their bid to steal a win in the overtime shootout.

It took 10 shootout rounds to decide it, with Pee Dee's Kevin Haupt beating Lambert for the game-winning goal in sudden death after Lambert stopped eight of the first nine Pride attempts.

"You'd love to get the two points there, but we didn't even get one point here last year," Lambert said.

"This just shows our guys that we can play with the top teams in the league if we want to," said coach Dan Wiebe, whose Lynx extended their unbeaten streak to three (2-0-1). In the ECHL, shootout losses count as ties in the standings.

"I would have liked to have snuck out the victory for sure with a shootout win, but at the same time I'll take the point."

The Lynx coach would also gladly take the performance by second-year winger Wes Mason on a nightly basis. Mason scored Augusta's only goal of the first period, then set up the Lynx's three unanswered tallies in the second stanza.

"Maybe two weeks ago we don't come back from being down like that," Mason said. "But tonight we got everybody going, and when we get everybody the confidence they need, we showed that we have a contender. Not just in our division. But maybe to go all the way."

With Lynx defenseman Ken Ruddick in the penalty box serving a double minor for high sticking, Pee Dee took a 2-0 lead six minutes into the game on power-play goals 49 seconds apart by Brian Goudie and Dany Bousquet -- his league-leading 15th of the year.

Trailing 4-1, the second period belonged to Mason, who set up three unanswered goals that tied the game 4-4 after two periods.

On Augusta's third power play chance of the game, Mason set up Thompson's seventh goal of the year at 5:19. With about six minutes to go in the second, Mason scooped up a Pride turnover at his own blue line, led a 2-on-1 rush, and set up Lamarre at the left post for Lamarre's fourth goal of the year.

Then, with 20 seconds left in the period, the Lynx cycled the puck behind the net, where Mason picked up the puck and delivered a pretty feed to Pettersen. From the right slashes, Pettersen went top shelf on Pride goalie Paxton Schaefer for his seventh goal, which gave the Lynx new life.

Considering that Pee Dee ranks third in the ECHL in goals against, allowing just 2.47 per contest, Wiebe says his team's second-period largess speaks volumes.

"That's pretty impressive the way they kept a positive attitude and scored three goals in a period against a team like Pee Dee," Wiebe said.

Mason, who has scored three goals with three assists in his past two games, says the best is yet to come.

"We played one of the best teams in the league tonight and dominated them," Mason said, whose nine goals leads the club. "All we have to do is get through our head that we're the best team in the league, and we'll be all right."