With much of the talk during training camp focusing on Augusta's new-look roster, it was a couple of familiar faces who led the Lynx to a season-opening victory Friday night.
Jonas Soling and Chris Thompson, two of the team's top scorers a season ago, combined for three goals as the Lynx beat the rival Greenville Grrrowl 4-1 before 6,041 at the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center in coach Scott MacPherson's debut behind the bench.
"Since the first day I got here, all I've heard about is Greenville," MacPherson said of the team that eliminated the Lynx from the postseason in the Southern Conference semifinals. "It was good to come out from the start and measure ourselves against them right away.
With the addition of several veterans expected to help bolster Augusta's lineup, the one question the Lynx had entering the season was goaltending.
Not surprising, really, with Judd Lambert starting the year at Providence of the American Hockey League, forcing the Lynx to head into their third season in Augusta with a pair of rookies expected to split time in the net.
Any concerns were put to rest -- for one night anyway -- as Reg Bourcier sparkled in his professional debut, stopping 47 shots, making it look easy in the process.
"I'd say about 95 percent of the shots I faced, I had a clear look at," said Bourcier, who turned aside 23 shots in the third period to continually frustrate the Grrrowl, thwarting their attempts at a comeback.
"Goaltending is about confidence," he said. "You have to have a positive mind set. Once you start to make a few saves, your confidence builds. With the defense playing like it did, giving me looks, I felt more and more comfortable and relaxed as the game went on."
Soling, coming off a 22-goal season, scored a pair of short-handed goals -- the Lynx had two as a team all of last season -- and added an assist in opening the season with a three-point night.
Soling's first goal came 7:43 into the second period, breaking a 1-1 tie. His second short-handed tally came with 11:12 left, burying a perfect cross-ice pass from Dean Tiltgen on a 2-on-1 break to extend the lead to 4-1.
"We worked hard, and we were able to capitalize on our chances when we were a man short," said, Soling who had 53 points last season, his second in Augusta. "This was a perfect way for us to start the season."
Russ Guzior, who had 28 goals with Mobile last season before being acquired in a trade over the summer, scored with 4:15 left in the second to give the Lynx a two-goal advantage heading into intermission.
Thompson, coming off a 53-point campaign, gave the Lynx a 1-0 lead 17:10 in the first period. Greenville tied it on Scott Kirton's goal 42 second into the second, the lone blemish on Bourcier's otherwise perfect night.
"With Judd, you knew he had the ability to stop 40 or 50 shots," Thompson said. "It's natural to wonder how a new goalie will be able to handle things. But Reg stepped in and showed he belongs to be here. He showed he can play at this level."
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