Originally created 10/15/00

Lynx give Stingrays first victory

What once was a laptop computer now was a heap of shattered plastic at the bottom of his trash can.

"I threw it, but I guess (assistant coach Mario Martinello) forgot to catch it," said Augusta Lynx coach Scott MacPherson with a grin after the first defeat of his coaching career, a 3-2 loss to the South Carolina Stingrays at home on Saturday. "It lasted about seven years. It was time for a new one, anyway."

His spontaneous outburst aside, MacPherson considered the opening weekend a success, despite the Lynx twice blowing leads Saturday. The Lynx opened the MacPherson era with a 4-1 win over archrival Greenville on Friday.

"We passed the test this weekend," MacPherson said. "Obviously Greenville, on a lot of different levels, was a big test for us. With South Carolina, it was one of those games when they're down a couple of guys, playing three in three nights, and they're kind of ripe, but we didn't get the bounces, and it slipped away."

Jonas Soling scored twice Saturday, but the rest of the offense couldn't get it going.

With the Lynx trailing by a goal late in the third period, Soling scored what looked like his third goal of the night, but the play was whistled dead for offsides. The crowd of 6,213 fans at Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center showered the ice with hats for Soling, but the celebration was premature.

"I feel like every time I shoot the puck it's going to go in right now," Soling said. "If I can keep doing that, and if everyone else starts to get it going and start scoring, we're going to win a lot of games."

But the Lynx (1-1-0) ultimately left the door open for the Stingrays (1-2-0), who got two goals from Jason Sessa, including the game-winner in the third period, to pick up their first victory in three tries to open the season.

Sessa snapped a 2-2 tie with his second goal of the game on a power play at 3:13 of the third period.

The loss spoiled what otherwise was a solid debut for rookie goalie J.R. Prestifilippo, who made 32 saves in his first pro start.

"The guys played hard, and with a couple of breaks the game could have gone the other way," Prestifilippo said. "I'm fairly pleased with how I performed, but we go out there to win the game, and we came up a little short."

Soling picked up where he left off in Friday night's season-opening win over Greenville with two more goals Saturday, which gives him four in two games.

The 22-year-old right winger opened the scoring at 9:29 of the opening period when he picked up the puck in the neutral zone, deked past a defender at the top of the left circle and beat South Carolina goalie Kirk Daubenspeck with a wrister that made it 1-0.

The Stingrays tied it 1-1 just 1:26 into the second period when Sessa scored his first goal of the night as he tapped home a loose puck in the crease that got behind Prestifilippo.

Soling scored his second goal of the night at 8:24 of the second, giving the Lynx a 2-1 lead. After Daubenspeck made a save on a Wes Swinson shot from the point, Russ Guzior corralled the rebound and fired a shot that deflected off a Stingrays defender. The puck popped out into the slot, where Soling picked it up and buried it.

The lead didn't hold up for long, as Jared Bednar deflected a shot from the point that hit off Prestifilippo's neck guard and in the net to pull the Stingrays even at 2-2 with 8:27 left in the second period.

Stingrays goalie Kirk Daubenspeck shut the Lynx down the rest of the way, as he stopped 36 shots for his first win of the season.

"You're not going to win them all, I guess," MacPherson said. "But I really like our team. We're going to win a lot of hockey games here this year."

Reach: Rob Mueller at (706) 823-3425.


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