Augusta Lynx coach Bob Ferguson said Monday the three worst things a hockey team can do to itself are: 1) to give up a goal at the beginning or end of a period, 2) to give up a goal just after scoring one, and 3) to give up a short-handed goal.
He might have placed a jinx on his team, because all three happened to the Lynx in the first 13 minutes on Tuesday night.
The Lynx turned in the worst defensive period in the ECHL this season, allowing six goals in the first 20 minutes. Despite a furious comeback attempt, they couldn't overcome the deficit and fell 6-5 to the last-place Pensacola Ice Pilots at James Brown Arena.
Augusta scored four unanswered goals to trim a 6-1 deficit to 6-5 early in the third period, but the Ice Pilots and goaltender Mike Ayers turned away some prime scoring chances for the Lynx late.
The Lynx (10-9-0) lost their fourth consecutive home game and fell to 1-5 at James Brown Arena this season. They'll get a chance to turn things around Thursday with a rematch against Pensacola (3-10-2) at home, where Augusta has now allowed 5.3 goals per game.
Rookie goaltender Dave McKee got off to a rocky start in his return from a stint with Anaheim of the NHL. He allowed three goals on Pensacola's first five shots and was pulled for Brett Jaeger 7:02 into the game.
Jaeger allowed two more quick goals before leaving with an injury, sending McKee back into net.
After giving up the period's sixth goal on the Ice Pilots' 16th shot, McKee seemed to settle down and gain his confidence back in the second period.
Meanwhile, the Lynx offense came to life.
Ryan Lang scored an unassisted goal off a turnover, and Garrett Bembridge and Sean Blanchard each added power-play goals past Ayers in the middle frame to make it 6-4 going into the third period.
J.B. Bittner scored from Jamie Johnson to make it a 6-5 game at 5:30 in the final period, but the Lynx weren't able to find the net again despite several power-play chances late.
Jason Kostadine scored Augusta's first-period goal on a rebound at 3:43 that made the score 1-1 before Pensacola's run of goals. He extended his scoring streak to four games.
Rob Rankin scored twice, and Mike Wirll, Dallas Steward, Colin Hemingway and Nikita Korovkin each scored goals in the first period for Pensacola.
For Augusta, Louis Goulet's six-game scoring streak and five-game assist streak came to an end.
NOTES: F Mike Erickson returned to the lineup Tuesday. F Garrett Bembridge is back from Portland of the AHL, which also sent down D Brett Skinner and D Nick Kuiper. D Nick Van Herpt was released. F Joe Cardarelli has been placed on the team's suspended list. F Joe Pereira has been placed on the three-day injured reserve.
Reach Steve Sanders at (706) 823-3216 or email@example.com