Originally created 12/16/06

Florida finishes off Augusta

Friday night, the Augusta Lynx and Florida Everblades played what had to have been one of the wackiest games of the season in the ECHL.

It also ended up being one of the most disappointing for the Lynx.

Florida scored three consecutive first-period goals and three unanswered third-period goals to withstand a five-goal outburst from Augusta in between, during a 6-5 Everblades victory at James Brown Arena.

Augusta rookie Shane Hynes scored three times in the second period for his first career hat trick to help the Lynx turn a 3-0 deficit into a 5-3 lead. But Florida's Vince Bellissimo capped a wild game, scoring the winning goal with 4:10 left to play.

The Lynx (12-14-0) failed to score with 5-on-3 and 6-on-3 advantages in the final six minutes to drop their third game in a row. They'll look to rebound tonight with a home game against the Charlotte Checkers.

Augusta, which has allowed a league-worst 106 goals this season, fell to 3-8 at home.

Florida (16-7-0) won its fourth consecutive game and has scored 23 goals in its past four games. The Everblades improved to 9-2 on the road.

Florida exposed Augusta's last-place penalty kill early on, scoring on its first two power-play chances - including on its very first shot of the game - to take a 2-0 lead.

Those goals, from Chris Lee and Dustin Johner, were followed by a Reggie Berg goal at 16:29 to give the Everblades a 3-0 lead after just nine shots.

Then, the Lynx answered.

J.B. Bittner punched home his own shot for a goal 22 seconds after Berg's, making it 3-1 to close the period.

The Lynx looked like a different team when they took the ice for the second period, opening up on offense to net four consecutive goals, to take a 5-3 lead.

Hynes beat Florida goaltender Craig Kowalski a minute into the second period on a nice feed from Garrett Bembridge behind the net to cut it to 3-2.

Jamie Johnson beat Kowalski stick side on a beautiful give-and-go with Ryan Lang at 8:17 to tie it, 3-3, and Hynes scored the go-ahead goal less than a minute later when he chipped a loose puck over Kowalski's right pad.

Hynes netted the hat trick and gave Augusta its fifth goal when he scored on a wrister from the left face off circle at 15:14 of the second period.

The momentum turned back in Florida's favor for the third period, when the Everblades scored three in a row to take the lead, 6-5.

Johner added another power-play goal at 4:52, and Brad Zancanaro scored on a rebound to tie it at 7:39.

Just seconds after Florida killed a 5-on-3 Augusta power play, the Lynx turned the puck over in their own zone.

Bellissimo took it and provided the game-winner.

The Lynx played the final 1:14 with a 6-on-3 advantage but couldn't get the equalizer.

Reach Steve Sanders at (706) 823-3216 or steven.l.sanders@augustachronicle.com


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