MOBILE, Ala. - The Augusta Lynx have established themselves firmly as Southeast Division cellar-dwellers. Now, unfortunately, they're closing in on an even more dubious distinction as the worst team in the East Coast Hockey League.
The latest setback, a 5-3 loss to the Mobile Mysticks on Sunday afternoon at Mobile Civic Center, extended the Lynx's winless skid to six games (0-5-1) - the longest current slide in the ECHL and longest for the club this season.
Worse yet, the Lynx now are tied with the lowly Wheeling Nailers with 39 points, fewest in the league. Augusta (17-23-5) is only a few percentage points ahead of Wheeling (16-25-7) for last-place in the ECHL's overall standings.
Augusta is now 2-7-1 since new coach Jim Burton took over in early January.
The Mysticks peppered Lynx goalie Erasmo Saltarelli - who rejoined the team from a call-up to Norfolk of the American Hockey League and made his first start for Augusta since Jan. 5 - with 36 shots and led 3-0 midway through the second period.
First-period goals by Jason Elders, his team-leading 27th, and B.J. Kilbourne made it 2-0, and Brent Wishart made it 3-0 with an unassisted goal at 12:46 of the second.
Lars Pettersen cut the Lynx deficit to two with a power-play goal, his 17th, at 18:14 of the second, but the Mysticks quashed any momentum when center Mark Turner scored his 22nd of the year just 2:50 into the final period to push the Mobile lead back to three goals.
The Lynx battled back with two more power-play goals by Paul Vincent - his first since joining the Lynx following a trade with Arkansas - and Wes Swinson. But sandwiched between those goals was a shorthanded tally by Mobile's Jonathan Sorg, a key insurance goal for the Mysticks (24-22-4).
Mobile goalie Scott Langkow, who played 15 games for the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers last season and also has played for the NHL's Winnipeg Jets and Phoenix Coyotes, recorded 28 saves for his second victory since joining the Mysticks last month.
The game also was the first for Mobile forwarddefenseman Sam Ftorek against his former club. Ftorek played the previous two seasons with the Lynx before being traded last summer for Russ Guzior, who was traded last week for Vincent.
Augusta closes out its road swing Tuesday night against the Pensacola Ice Pilots, then returns home for back-to-back games Thursday and Friday against the Charlotte Checkers at Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center. Because of a scheduling quirk, the Lynx and Checkers hook up for a third straight night Saturday in Charlotte.
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