Originally created 02/15/02

Lynx fail to gain ground



Pathetic.

That was the first word that came to Augusta Lynx coach Jim Burton's mind when he was asked to sum up Thursday night's 6-3 loss to the South Carolina Stingrays.

"That was pathetic," said an emotional Burton, his shirt soaked after turning over a utility cart filled with drinks inside the Lynx dressing room at Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center.

"They were lazy and uninspired. I'm not really sure what was going on out there tonight. It was awful, though."

Awful, as in countless defensive breakdowns deep in their own, which contributed to four of the Stingrays' goals, including a hat trick by leading scorer Dave Seitz.

Awful, as in the general malaise and lack of energy, particularly in the final period when the Lynx let a close game slip away.

Awful, as in the failure to stick to the defensive-minded game plan that helped them pick up two important wins last weekend over Greenville and South Carolina, victories that made it appear as if the up-and-down Lynx had finally righted the ship.

"No one showed up tonight, and it showed," Lynx veteran Guy Larose said. "Everyone's got to look themselves in the mirror. We're 50 games into the season, and we've made enough excuses. Everyone is responsible for their own actions, and we've got to do something about it now, or we'll all be golfing pretty soon."

Augusta (22-20-8) began the night six points behind Columbia for the fifth and final playoff spot in the division and four behind the Stingrays (27-19-4) for sixth place.

Entering the first of back-to-back games against Southeast Division rival Columbia tonight, the Lynx had the chance Thursday to gain ground on the Stingrays in the playoff race and also keep pace with the surprising Inferno.

Instead, the Lynx dug themselves into an even deeper hole, rendering the next two games against the Inferno as must-wins.

"We should be embarrassed with ourselves," center Jeff Bes said. "You can say the effort wasn't there tonight from a spectator's point of view, from the players' point of view and from the coach's point of view. We're battling for a playoff spot every night, and we didn't show up tonight. That can't happen."

Though the Lynx outshot South Carolina 41-31, the Stingrays made the most of their opportunities. After falling behind late in the first period on Seitz's first goal, the Lynx managed to tie the game at 2 at the midway point of the second period on goals by Martin Lapointe and Scott Morrow.

But Seitz put the game away, taking advantage of a pair of Lynx defensive breakdowns with his second and third goals of the night coming directly off turnovers. The third Seitz goal - his 27th of the year - just 45 seconds into the third period was the backbreaker, making it 4-2.

Brendan Concannon pushed the lead to 5-2 with his first goal of the year with 12:48 left in the game before Lynx rookie Josh St. Louis scored his fourth goal to cut the deficit to two with 8:36 remaining.

Newly acquired forward Kris Cantu added an empty-net goal, his first of the year, with two seconds remaining.

"This is it; I've had enough," Burton said. "I'm really disappointed with a lot of guys in that room right now. They'd better regroup for the rest of the weekend, or I'm going to get some young guys in here and get rid of the old guys."

Reach Rob Mueller at (706) 823-3425.