For the first time in well over a week, the Augusta Lynx gave their fans a reason to get into the game Saturday.
The Charlotte Checkers beat the Lynx 4-3 at the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center, but the 2,895 fans got to see a much more exciting game Saturday than Tuesday's and Friday's shutout losses.
Still, it was the Lynx's fourth loss in a row and dropped Augusta (7-13-2) to an abysmal 2-7-2 at home.
"I'm disgusted with our home record," coach Stan Drulia said.
It's likely he's not alone there. But Lynx fans concentrated their boos on the officials once they finally got to see something that hadn't happened in 178 minutes, 17 seconds.
The Lynx scored.
There were 128 goals scored in 21 ECHL games from the time the Lynx last scored until Saturday's game. The Lynx's lengthy run of futility set a team record. The record was 121:43 - the previously reported record of 152:45 was the Lynx's defensive record for holding opponents scoreless.
The Lynx scored on a power-play, a penalty kill and with at strength. They fired off 35 shots, including 19 in the second period, and they got into four fights, all of which got the crowd involved.
"I thought we outplayed them," Drulia said. "The guys got to the net, finished their checks, got their noses dirty. I just told the guys in there, 'That's something you can't do every once in a while. That's the way the game is supposed to be played.' "
Jamie Johnson and Matt Dzieduszycki provided most of the Lynx's offense. Dzieduszycki netted the power-play goal at the 5:32 mark to end the scoreless streak and tie the game at one apiece.
The Lynx barely gave the fans time to celebrate the goal, though. Shortly after fans yelled their customary, "He shoots, he scores," the same could have been said for the Checkers (13-6-2).
Forward Ryan Lang broke the 1-1 tie 41 seconds later by beating back-up goaltender Matus Kostur, who replaced Jason Saal for the second period after Saal was injured in the first.
Johnson scored the Lynx's second short-handed goal of the season on a one-on-one against Rory Rawlyk at the 14:03 mark to tie the game again. Dzieduszycki and Sean Connolly recorded the assists.
Again, the Checkers didn't allow the fans to savor the tie for long. Lang finished off the hat trick to give the Checkers a 3-2 lead and Mike Harder added another goal 3 minutes later to put the Checkers up 4-2.
Kostur and the Lynx managed to hold the Checkers scoreless in the third period, but could only muster one more goal against goaltender Kelly Guard, who stopped 32 shots for his eighth win of the season. Connolly got his fourth goal of the season at 14:15 to cut the lead to one. Johnson and Dzieduszycki each added an assist to give them three points for the game.
STAR OF THE GAME: Charlotte forward Ryan Lang recorded a hat trick before the second period ended. He scored the Checkers' first goal and then responded both times the Lynx tied it in the second period. Lang only had three goals all season before Saturday.
TURNING POINT: The first two times the Lynx scored, the Checkers responded with goals of their own before the Civic Center fans had finished cheering.
PLUS: The Lynx scored.
MINUS: Augusta goaltender Jason Saal was injured in the first period. Coach Stan Drulia said Saal is day-to-day.
NEXT GAME: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Lynx at Florida
Reach Kristy Shonka at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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