Augusta loses another to AHL

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The 2007 portion of the hockey season has been strong for the Augusta Lynx. The problem is, it may have been too strong.

The Lynx won their first seven home games of the season and climbed into a three-way tie for third place in the ECHL's South Division prior to Monday's game against Charlotte.

Augusta's early success, including a 17-11-3 record, has kept Lynx fans entertained, but it's also drawn the attention of teams at the next level.

Center John Laliberte signed a professional tryout contract with the Milwaukee Admirals on Monday. He's the fourth member of the Lynx to leave Augusta in the past month for an American Hockey League team.

Forwards Matt Christie and Ryan Dingle were called up by Portland on Dec. 8, while forward Aaron Slattengren got his call from Manitoba on Dec. 26.

"You feel good for the guys getting called up. They deserve the opportunity," Lynx head coach Bob Ferguson said.

"Now the concern is about the guys still here working. It's never a good time to lose guys, but we're in the middle of a four games in five days stretch, and this might be the worst time of the year for this to happen."

The Lynx have won three of their past four games entering Monday night's contest, but they face 2008 with a depleted roster on offense. Four of the Lynx's top seven goal scorers this season are no longer with the team.

"That first line of (Louis) Goulet, Aaron Slattengren and Laliberte has been our main offensive line all year long, and now two-thirds of that is gone," Ferguson said. "We'll put some people in different places. We only have eight forwards right now."

Lynx defenseman Will Bodine has filled in up front as a ninth forward when necessary. The makeshift offensive weapon has scored two goals in his first two games on offense.

Reach Billy Byler at (706) 823-3216 or billy.byler@augustachronicle.com.


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