NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. - With leading scorer Jeff Bes out of the lineup with a sore back and scheduled starter Zac Bierk on his way home to Canada, it figured to be a long night for the Augusta Lynx after falling behind 2-0 to the South Carolina Stingrays in the opening 4:12 of the contest.
But the Lynx dug down deep to pull out their second straight victory, 3-2 over the defending Kelly Cup champion Stingrays at North Charleston Coliseum.
Making only his second start in nearly two weeks, goalie Cris Classen settled down after a rough start to keep the Lynx in the contest, and goals by Wes Mason, Martin Lapointe and Patrick Yetman lifted them to the victory.
With the victories over first-place Greenville on Friday and Saturday's comeback, the Lynx (22-19-8) pulled within six points of Columbia for the fifth and final playoff spot in the Southeast Division.
It also moved them to within two points of sixth-place South Carolina (25-19-4), which actually has a better winning percentage than Columbia (25-18-8) but has played three fewer games.
Less than 24 hours after recording his first shutout with the Lynx in Friday's 2-0 win over Greenville at home, Bierk left the club Saturday to be with his father, whose battle with leukemia reportedly has taken a turn for the worse.
Classen started in his place and surrendered two power-play goals on the Rays' first six shots, with Adam Calder and Jason Sessa doing the damage to make it 2-0.
But the Lynx answered with a power-play goal of their own, as Mason deflected a shot by defenseman David Wilkie past Rays goalie Jamie Hodson at 13:15 of the first to make it 2-1.
Lapointe tied the game at 2 with his 10th goal of the year and fourth against South Carolina this season at 3:07 of the second.
Yetman tallied his team-leading 24th goal with 3:06 left in the second to give the Lynx the lead for good.
Classen closed the door from there, recording 14 of his 38 saves in the final period, improving his record to 14-8-4.
NOTES: With Bierk's sudden departure, the Lynx signed Lakeside High graduate and Augusta State University student Ben Lesshafft as an emergency backup for the third time this season. ... With Tyson Holly on injured reserve and Bes out of the lineup, defenseman Likit Andersson was moved to forward Saturday. He played on a second line with Tyler Willis and Patrick Yetman. ... The "Behind the Bench" show with Lynx coach Jim Burton airs Monday at 7 p.m. on WXRX-FM 96.3, live from the Sports Pub and Grill. This week's guests include Willis, Yetman and Guy Larose.