Originally created 04/01/04

Missing Lynx to be a factor



When the Augusta Lynx come out of the locker room for their final home game tonight, fans might have a hard time finding uniformed players amidst a sea of suits.

As many as seven Lynx players could miss the game against Columbus, which starts at 7:05 p.m., leaving coach Stan Drulia with four defensemen and eight forwards.

"We're banged up and beat up pretty bad right now," Drulia said.

Six players could miss due to injuries, while Nick Greenough is still with the AHL's Springfield Falcons. Defensemen Peter Reynolds and Rob Stanfield are definite scratches tonight as both are on injured reserve for the remainder of the season.

There is a possibility the other four players could play. Drulia said centers Scott Kelman and Jarrett Thompson, defenseman John Cronin and forward/defenseman Todd Bennett will have their status re-evaluated this morning.

The Lynx (31-31-7) were in a similar position Tuesday night against South Carolina and lost 3-0.

"We actually played a pretty decent game considering the number of bodies we were short," Drulia said. "(With a short bench) we have to be smarter, a little more patient. ... But we'll get through it. The guys will battle and we'll compete and hopefully we can get a win."

This game has no effect on the ECHL playoffs. The Lynx are out of contention and Columbus (36-25-8) was eliminated from the race Wednesday with a 4-3 shootout loss to Mississippi. But that shouldn't affect the intensity level too much. Drulia called Augusta's previous games against Columbus "battles" and expects this game will be no different.

"We need to play hard," Drulia said. "Hopefully it doesn't get stupid, but we need to play hard. We need to play the game the way it's supposed to be played."

The Cottonmouths lead the season series 4-3, but the Lynx won the last meeting 3-2 in Columbus on March 6. Augusta is 19-11-5 at Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center this season and would like to leave its fans on a winning note.

"We want to put on a good show (today) ... for our fans who have supported us all year," Drulia said.

But injuries and fatigue could work against the Lynx tonight, which will be the Lynx's fifth game in seven days. Their season wraps up Friday and Saturday in South Florida with a pair of games against the Florida Everblades.

Reach Kristy Shonka at (706) 823-3219

or kristy.shonka@augustachronicle.com.

WHEN: 7:05 p.m. today

WHERE: Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center

RADIO: WEKL-FM 102.3

TICKETS: Call (706) 724-4423 for details or charge by phone through Ticketmaster at 828-7000.

SCOUTING THE LYNX

COACH: Stan Drulia

RECORD: 31-31-7 (sixth Central Division)

WORTH NOTING: This is the Lynx's final home game of the season. They are 19-11-5 at Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center. ... Tuesday's 3-0 loss at South Carolina marked the first time the Lynx had been shut out since Columbus beat them 3-0 on Jan. 24. ... Forward Louis Goulet leads the Lynx in goals (32), assists (47) and points (79). He's sixth in the ECHL in points.

SCOUTING THE COTTONMOUTHS

COACH: Brian Curran

RECORD: 36-25-8 (fifth Central Division)

WORTH NOTING: The Cottonmouths were eliminated from playoff contention Wednesday with a 4-3 shootout loss to Mississippi. ... Forward Colin Pepperall leads Columbus with 18 goals and 39 assists for 57 points

- Kristy Shonka