Little offense. Shaky defense. Inconsistent goaltending.
Not a pretty picture for any hockey team, but a fact of life these days for the Augusta Lynx, who fell 3-2 to the South Carolina Stingrays in a Tuesday matinee at Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center.
Despite outplaying the Stingrays, who were without suspended all-star center Dave Seitz and other key players, the last-place Lynx suffered their third straight loss and 10th in 13 games.
"Worked hard, can't score," Lynx coach David Wilkie said. "No confidence up front scoring goals, and a couple of defensive breakdowns that resulted in goals. You don't win games like that."
The Lynx (6-12-0) also didn't get the performance they needed from goalie Colin Zulianello, who said two of the three goals he surrendered were "my fault, totally."
After the Lynx rallied to tie the game 2-2 at 14:12 of the first period on goals 29 seconds apart by Darryl Laplante and Brad Ralph, Zulianello let in a point shot by Matt Desrosiers with 57 seconds left in the period for the go-ahead goal for the first-place Stingrays (13-6-0).
Adam Calder scored the Stingrays' first goal on a wraparound at 8:56 of the first. Andy Powers made it 2-0 on a one-timer at 11:20.
"I wasn't very sharp," said Zulianello, who made 21 saves. "I should have had the wraparound, and I probably could have been in better position on the shot from the point."
Meanwhile, the offensive funk continued for the Lynx, who began the day averaging 2.24 goals a game - 26th in the 27-team league.
It took a lucky break for the Lynx to get on the scoreboard.
On Laplante's goal, the Lynx defenseman flipped the puck high from center ice, and the play should have been whistled dead for offsides. Stingrays goalie Kirk Daubenspeck thought so, and let the puck sail over his head.
Despite the Stingrays' protest, the goal stood, making it a 2-1 game.
Otherwise, Daubenspeck was the difference with 36 saves.
"We got outplayed pretty bad," Stingrays coach Jason Fitzsimmons said. "But Kirk was phenomenal for us."
After the game, Wilkie made the first of what figures to be a flurry of roster moves. The rookie coach traded former NHL forward Kevin Brown to the Florida Everblades for forward John Campbell.
"We have to rebuild this team," Wilkie said. "This is the start."
Stingrays 3, Lynx 2
Star of the game: Stingrays goalie Kirk Daubenspeck recorded 34 saves to pick up his ECHL-leading 12th victory.
Key play: With the score tied at 2 late in the first period, defenseman Matt Desrosiers scored his sixth goal of the year on a shot from the point to give the Rays the lead.
Plus: Lynx winger Brad Ralph scored his second goal of the season and finished plus-2.
Minus: Veteran forward Kevin Brown finished minus-3 in his final game for the Lynx. He was traded to the Florida Everblades after the game.
Up next: Augusta Lynx at Jackson Bandits, 8:05 tonight
Reach Rob Mueller at (706) 823-3425.
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