Lynx rolling on home ice

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Maybe it's the fake championship belt they hung in the tunnel outside their locker room a couple of weeks ago.

Maybe it's because the equipment manager recently re-arranged the locker room.

Maybe it's because the fans have seemed to pick up their intensity.

Whatever the reason, the Augusta Lynx are rocking and rolling at James Brown Arena right now.

After losing nine of their first 12 home games, the Lynx have now won five in a row on their home ice after Saturday night's 7-2 dismantling of the Johnstown Chiefs.

"It's really a compliment to the fans. They've started to show up more and they've been loud," Augusta's Joe Pereira said. "They're like our sixth man.

"We know we struggled early at home, so it was a New Year's resolution to play better and get people to come out," he said.

In front of one of their larger crowds of the season, the Lynx didn't disappoint, posting season highs for goals in a game (seven) and goals in the first period (four).

They appeared to come out of the locker room fired up, after losing a lopsided decision by the same score at South Carolina on Friday night.

"After the game (Friday), everyone pretty much knew we had to come out and play well," said forward Brian Passmore, who had a goal and an assist in his first home game with the Lynx since last season, when he was an All-Star. "And that's the first thing we did tonight. We got off to a good start."

Augusta (17-18-0) moved within two points of fifth-place Charlotte in the ECHL's South Division with three more home games coming up this week before an extended road trip.

"These are big points for us right now," Passmore said. "And we've got some more home games coming up. I think if we can get on a roll at home right now, that should get us into good position for the playoffs."

Six different players scored for the Lynx, who were facing the Chiefs (14-14-4) of the North Division for the first time ever in Augusta.

Mike Erickson, Shane Hynes, Louis Goulet and Passmore each scored goals within Augusta's first 11 shots. Dirk Southern scored two goals after that, and Ken Scuderi tacked on another, his first of the season.

"I was a little worried about losing some of our firepower, worried about where our goals would come from," Lynx coach Bob Ferguson said, referring to call-ups of several top scorers lately. "But we're finding different ways to score, and I obviously was very pleased tonight."

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


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