Originally created 04/16/04

Lynx look for return of two stars



Augusta Lynx fans can rest a little easier for next season, as it looks like Augusta's two top players will return.

Players can't sign until June, but forward Louis Goulet said things look good for his and goaltender Jason Saal's return to Augusta next season.

"I heard rumblings (Saal) could be back," Goulet said. "Things look good for us."

Coach Stan Drulia could not confirm the players' return because of ECHL rules, but did say he hoped to have about 10 players back from this past year's team, which finished 32-33-7.

Goulet, who played for Drulia with the Atlantic Coast Hockey League's Orlando Seals in 2002-03, led the Lynx in scoring in his first ECHL season.

He scored 32 goals and notched 52 assists for 84 points. Saal was the Lynx' top goaltender when he was healthy. He went 20-12 with five shutouts and a 2.56 goals against average. He stopped 92.5 percent of the shots he faced.

Goulet and Drulia said the Lynx should have a core group of players returning, though they wouldn't be more specific. Goulet said the players returning want to start where they left off to end the season.

"I think we had unfinished business here," Goulet said. "Next year we really want to make the playoffs."

While Drulia is working toward reloading his roster for next season, the Lynx front office is working to reload the seats in the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center. Assistant general manager Rob Mueller said the team has sold 700 season tickets so far and are in the top five in season ticket renewals in the ECHL. It took the Lynx until September last year to reach 700 sold.

The front office has a goal of 1,000 season tickets sold by May 1.

Reach Kristy Shonka at (706) 823-3219 or kristy.shonka@augustachronicle.com.