Originally created 12/16/00

Titans crush Lynx



So much for all those long practices this week. So much for the GM on the bench.

So much for all those long practices this week. So much for the GM on the bench.

So much for a "recommitment" to defense, the quest for accountability, the promise of better days to come.

When it came time to answer the bell Friday night, all of that positive spin meant very little to the Augusta Lynx, who met up with the mighty Trenton Titans and promptly were put in their place.

Last place, to be exact, a position which has become all too familiar to the Lynx. Their latest setback, a 7-2 loss to the Titans, gave the crowd of 3,509 fans at the Civic Center very little reason to believe a miracle on Telfair Street will come by Christmas.

Adding injury to insult, forward Louis Dumont - the team's second-leading scorer - left the game in the second period with a dislocated and fractured thumb. The 27-year-old veteran is expected to miss 4-to-6 weeks.

And the capper to another lost evening? Their worst defeat yet transpired right smack in the face of general manager Paul Gamsby, who made his debut behind the bench alongside embattled coach Scott MacPherson.

"I don't know, we started out fine, we came out with intensity, and as soon as we got any goals scored on us, we stopped playing our game and started scrambling again," Lynx defenseman John Whitwell said. "Trenton's a good team, but I don't think they're that much better than we are."

But after an evenly-played 10 minutes at the start, the Titans were light years better.

Despite the Lynx focusing on team defense all week in practice, it was the stingy Titans who put on a defensive clinic. Trenton, which holds the best overall record in the league at 20-5-1, entered the night allowing 1.72 goals a game, which also is tops in the ECHL.

Goalie Scott Stirling, a rookie out of Brown University who entered with a league-leading 1.35 goals-against average, recorded 32 saves and improved to 9-2-1.

Oh yeah, they can put the puck in the net, too.

In his second game back after a stint with Grand Rapids of the International league, Cail MacLean scored a pair of goals for the Titans, as did 34-year-old veteran Butch Kaebel.

The win was their fourth straight and ninth in their past 11 games. Not bad for a road-weary club playing its sixth game in eight days.

On the flipside, the Lynx (9-14-2) kicked off a key stretch with their third straight defeat. Augusta plays host to Greenville tonight in the second of seven games over a nine-day period that could make or break their season.

"We had more of the same breakdowns, the loss of coverages, the mistakes," said captain Scott Morrow, who scored his 14th goal of the year. "We've just got to come back tomorrow. We've got three (games) in three (nights) and seven in nine, so you can't get down too much. It's disappointing, but we've got to be ready to go tomorrow."

The seven goals by Trenton also was the most the Lynx have allowed at home since a 7-4 loss to Greenville last season, and their last-in-the-league penalty kill also struggled, giving up two more goals on eight chances.

Former Titan Likit Andersson scored his fourth goal of the year against his former team, and he also assisted on Morrow's tally, but that was it in terms of highlights.

Erasmo Saltarelli started in net for the Lynx, but was pulled in favor of rookie Reg Bourcier midway through the second after giving up four goals on 15 shots.

But it was hard to fault Saltarelli on any of them, as the Lynx ran the gamut of miscues and staked Trenton to a 4-1 lead.

The fourth goal, Jed Whitchurch's 10th of the year at 9:45 of the second period, epitomized the Lynx's problems.

Whitchurch picked up the puck behind the net, held it for several seconds, then walked out in front all alone. Saltarelli had no chance, as the nearest Lynx defender was several feet away as he fired from the left post.

"I don't know what the answer is," Whitwell said. "Every guy in here's got to look inside and figure this out."

Reach Rob Mueller at (706) 823-3425 or robm99@hotmail.com.