The optimism the Augusta Lynx are feeling after a banner weekend has been tempered slightly by the call-up of veteran center Guy Larose to Chicago of the American Hockey League on Sunday.
With the Lynx looking to run their winning streak to a season-high four games tonight on the road against the Mobile Mysticks, coach Jim Burton will send out a lineup featuring three rookie centers tonight, with first-year center Jonathan Roy taking Larose's spot on the second line and forward Josh St. Louis moving from the wing to center the No. 3 line.
"It's never great timing to lose someone like Rosie, but we're playing pretty well right now and our confidence is building, so I think we'll be OK," Burton said. "St. Louis played well (Sunday against Pee Dee), and he's played center in junior and in college."
Larose, who is on a two-way contract with Chicago, says he does not know how long his call-up will last. Chicago is the primary affiliate of the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers.
"They (Chicago) have been struggling and had a guy called up to Atlanta, so they're going to bring me in to see what happens," Larose said. "You hate to leave now because things are going well for us. But the guys will do fine. Hopefully, everyone will benefit in the long run because now certain guys will have to step up and play a bit more and take on bigger responsibilities."
Burton said he was given no indication from Chicago how long Larose would be up.
"Could be a few days, could be a week, could be a month," Burton said. "Hopefully, we'll know something more later in the week."
Welcome to the East Coast Hockey League, Gregg Naumenko.
The new Lynx goalie was named the ECHL's goalie of the week on Monday after posting victories in his first three games this past weekend. He was assigned to the Lynx by the NHL's Anaheim Mighty Ducks on Friday.
The 24-year-old Chicago native, who appeared in two NHL games last season, played just one game this season with Cincinnati of the AHL, where he was stuck behind Detroit Red Wings prospect Jason Elliot and Mighty Ducks prospect Ilja Bryzgalov.
After being the odd-man out, Naumenko says he welcomes the chance to be an impact player again.
"I really like this team; they're an all-go, no-quit team," Naumenko said. "I'm sure there's other teams in the league that maybe have some more talent. But these guys are a real close-knit group that works together, works hard and works smart."
After missing the past three weeks with a fractured left elbow, defenseman Wes Swinson will be activated from injured reserve and make his return to the lineup tonight against the Mysticks.
With Swinson's return, Burton will use defenseman Likit Andersson at forward in Larose's absence.
Reach Rob Mueller at (706) 823-3425.
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