Originally created 11/10/05

Lynx coach is glad his past is behind him



Sometimes, homecomings aren't all they're cracked up to be.

Augusta Lynx coach Bob Ferguson got to catch up with a few old friends during his return to Estero, Fla. - home of the Florida Everblades - but on the ice, the team he helped start took three of four points from the team he's trying to rebuild.

"I'm glad it's over," said Ferguson, who coached the Everblades from 1998-2001. "I had spent three years there and got the chance to see some people that were with the organization when I was there before. I'd like to say it was a big deal, it was nice to get back, but that's four years ago and I've looked past there and I'm looking to the future."

The 0-1-1 weekend left Augusta (3-2-2, eight points) in a four-way tie with Florida, Greenville and South Carolina for third place in the South Division. Charlotte and Columbia each have 11 points for a first-place tie.

POWER SHORTAGE: Power play success hasn't come easily for the Lynx so far this season. They went 0-for-16 through the first three games, then 4-for-11 in their next two. In their two games against the Everblades, Augusta's struggles to put the puck in the net returned as the Lynx went 0-for-11.

"Usually your opponent's best penalty killer most of the time is their goaltender and I know on the weekend it was," Ferguson said. "Their goaltender (Phil Osaer), especially on the one late in the game, the five-on-three in overtime, he made for our five great saves.

"The power play is still a little bit of a concern, but I'm not panicking yet, because I like our puck movement. I like the chances we're getting, it's just a matter of they've got to start going in for us at key times."

MOVING UP: Two former Lynx players made their NHL debuts in the past week. Trevor Gillies recorded one shot in his debut with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in Sunday's 4-3 shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks.

The next night, defenseman Jay Leach made his first NHL appearance for the Boston Bruins in their 6-3 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Leach had seven penalty minutes and a plus-one rating.

While in Augusta, Gillies appeared in 46 games with one assist and 269 penalty minutes and Leach played in 65 games with eight goals, 19 points and 162 penalty minutes.

COMING AND GOING: Center Jamie Johnson was recalled to the American Hockey League's Iowa Stars, while forward Jake Riddle was reassigned to the Lynx from the AHL's Portland Pirates.

The team also got center Joel Stepp from Portland as well.

To make room for the additions, the Lynx waived forward Ryan Bennett.

HOUSTON HAS NO PROBLEM: The Houston Aeros have been happy with the play of goaltender Seamus Kotyk since they recalled him from the Lynx on Oct. 26. That's not good news for Augusta.

Kotyk was 2-1 with a 1.49 goals against average in three games with the Lynx and earned ECHL Saver of the Week after the first week of the season.

He is 2-1-1 and a 3.31 goals against average for the Aeros. Ferguson said he spoke with the Aeros on Sunday night, and learned that Kotyk will remain with Houston "for the time being."

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