The Augusta Lynx needed to make up ground on Pensacola before the All-Star break. They did their part on Friday night and so did the Mississippi Sea Wolves.
The Lynx gained ground on the Ice Pilots thanks to a 4-1 victory over the Greenville Grrrowl and a 4-3 loss by Pensacola.
"It's a big two points for us," Lynx coach Stan Drulia said. "We're trying to catch a couple of teams in the standings."
With just one game left before the ECHL All-Star break, the Lynx are even at 17-17-4.
"(Today), we have a chance to go over .500 in our house in front of our fans," Drulia said.
If the Lynx continue to play like they did against the Grrrowl, surpassing .500 might become a reality.
With less than two minutes gone in the first period, Louis Goulet scored his 16th goal of the season to give Augusta a 1-0 lead. It was only the third shot Grrrowl goalkeeper Michel Robinson had seen.
The Lynx never let up.
Despite two penalties in the first period by Greg Jacina, the team's only representative in next week's all-star game, the defense held and former NHL goaltender Greg Naumenko steadfastly deflected all seven shots on goal.
Coming out of the first period, it seemed as though the Lynx had absorbed Drulia's pre-game speech, which championed concepts of passion, heart and team work.
"Coach had a heart-to-heart with us," said Goulet, who scored two goals on the night. "And we knew they had a small bench and we ran them."
The lead grew to 2-0 in the second period when Paul Elliott tallied a power-play goal with a slap shot from the blue line.
But the team that didn't capitalize on early leads against Columbus on Thursday and South Carolina on Tuesday started to reappear in the second.
During a Lynx power play, Grrrowl forward Bryan LaChapelle got free for a break away. Lynx defender Paul Cronin gave chase, but pulled off at the red line when a second Grrowl forward moved in for the centering pass. LaChapelle's short-handed shot took a tricky bounce and made it past Naumenko making it 2-1 at 15:48.
The Lynx regrouped three minutes later when Pete Reynolds, recently acquired from the Florida Everblades, scored at 18:38.
Goulet added to the lead with his second goal at 4:04 in the third period, and Naumenko made it stand with a spectacular save on a Grrrowl breakaway.
"We're fighting for a playoff spot and hopefully we can go into the all-star break on a high," Goulet said.
Reach James Gallagher at (706) 823-3227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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