It's amazing what a few points can do for a hockey player's spirit.
Matt Dzieduszycki scored his first goal Saturday since suffering a high ankle sprain in October and added a pair of assists in the Augusta Lynx's 4-3 loss to the Charlotte Checkers.
During the off-ice portion of Monday's practice, Dzieduszycki was joking and jumping around, much to the amusement of his teammates.
"That's what happens when I have a good game," said Dzieduszycki, who came out to talk to reporters with towels under his T-shirt and tried to play it off like he was built like a body builder.
"I finally got that monkey off my back, scored a goal and (had) a couple of assists. That was good for me."
The 24-year-old forward was in no way pleased with the loss - the Lynx's fifth in a row - but he breathed a huge sigh of relief after scoring on a four-on-three power play in the second period Saturday.
"I felt about 20 pounds lighter," he said. "Just my energy, I just felt a lot more positive; just felt like I could do it every shift now."
Coach Stan Drulia said that in the first period he noticed Dzieduszycki try to pick a corner on a shot and miss the net. Drulia told his player at the intermission to just shoot the puck at the net.
"(In the) second period we get a power play, he closes his eyes, throws it on net and it finds a hole," Drulia said after the game. "That's all it takes to get somebody's confidence. He competed tonight.
"That's the best he's competed all year and we've got to get it out of him every night."
In the loss to Charlotte, Dzieduszycki and his linemates put the Lynx on the scoreboard for the first time in 178 minutes, 17 seconds - a team record for futility. Jamie Johnson, who assisted with Louis Goulet on Dzieduszycki's goal, scored Augusta's second goal short-handed with an assist from Dzieduszycki and Sean Connolly.
Connolly scored Augusta's third goal with help from Johnson and Dzieduszycki.
SHORT-HANDED: Six players sat out Monday's practice with injuries, including Goulet and leading goaltender Jason Saal.
"We're still a banged up group," Drulia said. "This two games in the next 14 days is really, really going to help us."
The Lynx play two games in Florida against the Everblades this weekend before taking a week off.
Augusta got some help Tuesday from the AHL's Albany River Rats. The same team that gave the Lynx leading goal scorer Ken Magowan and back-up goaltender Matus Kostur, assigned defenseman Phil Cole to Augusta.
Cole will take the place of rookie defenseman Lawne Snyder, who Augusta put on seven-day injured reserve retroactive to Sunday. Cole had zero points, a minus-1 rating in 11 games in Albany.
Reach Kristy Shonka at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.