On Friday, the Augusta Lynx will embark on a brutal four-week stretch, the likes of which most of them haven't experienced.
"A lot of road games," said rookie goaltender David McKee, who earned his first pro victory Saturday night against Gwinnett. "It's going to be a huge test for us and should tell us a lot."
The Lynx (1-1-0) play 13 of their next 15 games away from James Brown Arena, starting Friday at Columbia. A six-game road trip is followed by one game at home Nov. 10, then another five-game expedition.
Coach Bob Ferguson said he's "definitely concerned" with how his young team - seven rookies - will respond to the tough stretch.
"It's a half-full, half-empty thing," Ferguson said. "The optimist says if we're pretty successful we'll be in good shape with the number of home games afterward."
Augusta will then play 16 of its next 21 games at home.
"But it could put us behind the 8-ball early and make us have to play catch-up for a while," Ferguson said. "The good thing is that if you're going to have to go through a stretch like this, you like it early in the season."
McKee, a 22-year-old who has played three 35-game seasons at Cornell University, said the road trip might help.
"Sometimes getting on the road is good for a team with a lot of new guys," he said.
JOHNSON IS BACK: Forward Jamie Johnson missed Augusta's opening weekend split with Columbia and Gwinnett because he hadn't cleared immigration.
Ferguson said he expects to have the team's former leading scorer cleared by this weekend.
"It was frustrating going into those first couple of games, and the difference being special teams, which is one of Jamie's strengths," Ferguson said. "We worked on (power play and penalty kills) all during the week, and he wasn't out there, which probably hurt us a little bit."
In a 7-3 loss to Columbia and a 6-5 win over Gwinnett, Augusta went 3-for-26 on the power play, allowing eight goals on 25 penalty-kill chances.
ROSTER CHANGES: The Lynx signed 25-year-old defenseman Jason Platt on Monday, adding more American Hockey League experience to their back line.
Platt (6-1, 210) spent the past two-plus seasons in the AHL playing for the Toronto/Edmonton Roadrunners and Iowa Stars. In 105 AHL games, the San Francisco native tallied one goal, six assists and 71 penalty minutes.
The Lynx also announced they moved forward Joe Pereira to the seven-day injured reserve and forward Joe Cardarelli to the three-day IR.
Defenseman Roman Marakhovski remains on the 30-day IR.
LINE ON FIRE: The line consisting of forwards Ryan Lang, Louis Goulet and Shane Hynes was red-hot in the Lynx's first weekend, totaling six goals and 12 points.
Lang scored three goals, Hynes added two, and Goulet notched three assists.
"Louis and I are both smaller guys who like to use our speed to find open ice, and Hynes is bigger, so it helps to have him out there to make more room," Lang said.
ATTENDANCE: The Lynx reported an average attendance of 3,310 in their first two games.
Reach Steve Sanders at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
LYNX UPCOMING SCHEDULE
Oct. 27 at Columbia
Oct. 28 at South Carolina
Nov. 3 at Pensacola
Nov. 4 at Pensacola
Nov. 6 at Gwinnett
Nov. 7 at Columbia
Nov. 10 South Carolina
Nov. 11 at Charlotte
Nov. 12 at South Carolina
Nov. 14 at South Carolina
Nov. 17 at Texas
Nov. 18 at Texas
Nov. 21 Columbia
Nov. 24 at Pensacola
Nov. 25 at Pensacola
Home games in bold
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