Originally created 03/16/05

Lynx: Augusta fails to break record



Through the first two periods of Tuesday's game, Matus Kostur and Phil Osaer appeared to be stuck in some sort of instant replay purgatory.

For Kostur, the Augusta Lynx's goalie, his flashback came during faceoffs.

Osaer, the Texas Wildcatters' goalie, had to relive Lynx defenseman Sean Connolly shooting the puck through him instead of at him.

Osaer got over his Swiss-cheese-like affliction in the third, while the final period was just plain purgatory for Kostur and the Lynx. The Wildcatters scored three times in last 20 minutes to embarrass the Lynx 6-2 at Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center.

The loss, which came at the hands of the American Conference's cellar dweller, snapped Augusta's team-record, eight game home winning streak.

"We did dumb things," Lynx coach Stan Drulia said. "Stupid things. We thought it was going to be easy. You're playing with fire when you think teams are going to be easy."

It was just the second win in 11 games for Texas (13-37-10, 34 points), while Augusta (24-29-7, 55 points) had won two in a row and six of its past 10 going into the game.

Texas took five points from the Lynx this year with a pair of regulation wins and a shootout win. A Lynx win would have moved them to just 10 points back of idle Greenville for the last spot in the American Conference playoff race.

Now Augusta is looking at an uphill climb that, as Drulia said, is only going to get harder.

In the next two weeks, the Lynx have four games against Pensacola - which is 3-0-1 against Augusta and the only team to already clinch a playoff berth - and two against Columbia - which is 2-2-1 against Augusta and tied for fourth in the American Conference.

Tuesday's game started painfully slow for the Lynx's offense. Augusta didn't get its first shot off until after Texas' Jason Kostadine scored from the blue line at the 8 minute, 13 second mark of the first period.

The faceoff came to haunt Kostur on Texas' next two goals, starting when John Snowden gave the Wildcatters a 2-0 lead later in the first. Snowden took Andrew Ianiero's feed from the right circle and sent it past Kostur to the far side.

Kostur got a brief reprieve when the Lynx tied the game in the second period on Connolly's two power play goals. The first came when Jamie Johnson sent a pass from behind the net to Connolly, who hit Osaer with the puck from the left circle only to have it roll in the net anyway. Connolly's second goal also hit Osaer before bouncing over the goal line with 11:34 left in the second period.

Kostur's dj vu experience was spaced a little more than Osaer's, but gave the Wildcatters' a 3-2 lead with 6:32 left in the second. Texas forward Paul Falco earned the direct hit with the only assist coming from the referee who dropped the puck. The Lynx out-shot the Wildcatters 21-3 in the period, but still came out trailing by a goal.

Eric Sonnenberg scored Texas' first goal of the third to give the Wildcatters a 4-2 advantage before Snowden finished off a hat trick with goals at the 11:12 and 19:50 marks.

The Lynx out-shot the Wildcatters 47-27.

"They probably had four scoring chances, and they all went in," Drulia said. "It wasn't Matus' fault."

Kostur, who started his third game in a row, stopped 21 shots as he fell to 7-11-3 on the year. Osaer stopped 45 to improve to 7-23-3.

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

Game Report:

Star of the game: Texas forward John Snowden earned a hat trick and added an assist in the rout.

TURNING POINT: Paul Falco's direct shot off a faceoff beat Lynx goalie Matus Kostur and gave the Wildcatters the lead for good.

MINUS: The Lynx lost a valuable two points to the worst team in the American Conference.

NEXT GAME: 7:35 p.m. Friday, Pensacola at Augusta

WILDCATTERS 6, LYNX 2

Texas213-6

Augusta020-2

First period: 1, Texas, Kostadine 5 (Stork, Falco) 8:13. 2, Texas, Snowden 21 (Ianiero) 18:29. Penalties-Darby, AUG (roughing) 5:38; Stork, TEX (holding, 10-minute misconduct) 14:18; Stacey, TEX (high sticking) 19:18.

Second period: 3, Augusta, Connolly 11 (Johnson, Magowan) 1:12 (pp). 4, Augusta, Connolly 12 (Magowan, Goulet) 8:26 (pp). 5, Texas, Falco 4 (none) 13:28. Penalties-McNeil, TEX (holding) 7:39; Stork, TEX (tripping) 13:44.

Third period: 6, Texas, Sonnenberg 5 (Snowden, Stacey) 8:26. 7, Texas, Snowden 22 (Stork, Cooper) 11:12. 8, Texas, Snowden 23 (Fultz, Pereira) 19:50 (pp). Penalties-Markusen, AUG (high sticking) 3:33; Falco, TEX (slashing) 6:00; Darby, AUG (high sticking, unsportsmanlike conduct) 11:40; Gianetti, TEX (slashing) 16:53; Darby, AUG (spearing) 16:54; Markusen, AUG (slashing) 18:15.

Shots on goal: Texas 14-3-10-27, Augusta 13-21-13-47. Power-play opportunities: Texas 1-for-6, Augusta 2-for-5. Goalies: Texas-Osaer (47-35; W, 7-23-3); Augusta-Kostur (27-21; L, 7-11-3). Referee: David Banfield. Linesmen: Terry Wicklum, Todd Owen. A: 1,930.