Originally created 02/02/05

Lynx: Young players' travels are common

Tuesday's game against Florida was Augusta Lynx defenseman Joe Markusen's 18th professional hockey game.

In that short span, the rookie has played for three different teams in cities that span more than 5,000 miles.

That's often the way life is in the ECHL for a young player who is trying to prove himself.

"I'm learning that pretty quick," the North Dakota native said.

Markusen began the season in Long Beach, Calif., where he played one game for the Ice Dogs. On Dec. 3, Long Beach traded Markusen to Reading, Pa.

One 40-hour cross-country drive later, the former Michigan State player suited up for the Royals.

Markusen notched one assist in 10 games for the Royals. Then came another move. The Lynx traded forward Mike Sandbeck to Reading for Markusen on Jan. 14. The Lynx needed immediate help, though, and flew Markusen to Augusta, delaying a 12-hour car trip.

This past week, that delay ended. Markusen flew to Reading during the all-star game last week to get the rest of his belongings and his car, which he drove back this past Wednesday.

He said he brought most of his stuff up to his apartment that night but didn't feel like unpacking.

And who could blame him?

Markusen and his teammates had an 8:30 practice Thursday morning after which the Lynx left on an 8-hour bus ride to Pensacola, Fla.

The Lynx have not played at home since Jan. 15 - Markusen's first game with the Lynx. There's good news on the horizon, though. The Lynx's trip to Florida this past weekend through Tuesday is their last extended road trip of the season.

And they play at Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center for their next three games, beginning Friday.

FALLING FAST: After coming out of the Christmas break on a 5-3-1 tear, the Lynx slumped out of January with a 5-7-2 record. Heading into Tuesday's game, the Lynx hadn't won since Jan. 18 and had picked up just one point in their past five games. They have fallen to 12 points out of the American Conference's final playoff spot.

Stan Drulia said last week that the Lynx needed to go 23-9 or 22-10 down the stretch. Since then they are 0-2, leaving themselves in a tough spot if they want to make the postseason for the first time since the 2000-01 season.

DZIEDUSZYCKI SUSPENDED: The ECHL suspended forward Matt Dzieduszycki on Tuesday for one game, which he served against Florida later that night. Dzieduszycki was assessed a game misconduct penalty toward the end of the game under Rule 60 (b), head-butting.

BENNETT HURT: After a collision in Saturday's game against Pensacola, forward Todd Bennett landed on one of the skates belonging to Ice Pilots goaltender Todd Ford. Lynx director of broadcaster and public relations Tom Callahan said Bennett broke his jaw and lost a few teeth.

Callahan wasn't sure how long Bennett would be out, but said the Lynx's leading goal scorer would not play Tuesday.

Reach Kristy Shonka at (706) 823-3216 or kristy.shonka@augustachronicle.com.


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