AUGUSTA, GA – The Augusta RiverHawks used timely and efficient offense to steamroll the Columbus Cottonmouths 5-2 on Thursday, December 13th at the James Brown Arena. At the time, the RiverHawks had been near the bottom of the SPHL in goals scored, but they managed to score five goals on just 23 shots, with a few of them being the highlight-reel variety.
The RiverHawks enjoyed a breakout performance from the then-newly formed line of Captain Matt Auffrey, Kyle Watson, and Casey Mignone who was playing in his first game as a RiverHawk. Mignone finished the game with two goals and two assists, while Auffrey had his first multi-point effort of the season with a goal and two assists. Watson chipped in with a goal and an assist.
The RiverHawks jumped out to the lead just over seven minutes into the first period as Dennis Sicard hammered a half-slap shot that eluded Cottonmouths’ goaltender Andrew Loewen and found the top-corner of the net. That lone goal in the first frame would give Augusta the advantage going into the first intermission.
A quick play in the first two minutes of the second period put another point up on the board for Augusta. Newcomer Mignone found a streaking Watson down the middle of the slot. Watson made it look easy firing a shot past Loewen, giving Mignone his first point of the season.
Columbus answered quickly when Chris Bailer made the long-range shot from the point with assists from John Sullivan and Jordan Braid. Bailer let go an innocent-looking shot from the point, but RiverHawks’ net-minder Robby Moss could not see the shot through the traffic in front of him and it went in just under the cross-bar.
The Cottonmouths carried the play for the next five minutes but were unable to add another goal. The RiverHawks made them pay as Auffrey and Watson combined to set up Mignone who made a beautiful deke to beat Loewen between his legs.
The two-goal lead would not last the rest of the period however, as Columbus continued to pressure the RiverHawks and were eventually rewarded. The RiverHawks were unable to clear their own zone of the puck and instead the biscuit went to the point, where the Cottonmouths fired the puck on goal. Moss made the original save, but the rebound went straight to Jordan Braid’s stick, and he fired it through Moss’ five-hole.
If the Cottonmouths carried any momentum into the third period, it was quickly squelched by the RiverHawks’ quick-strike offense. Mignone scored his second goal of the game off of a set up from Auffrey and defenseman Mike Switzer. Then, just thirty seconds later, Mignone slid a pass over to Auffrey on a two-on-one, and the Captain made no mistake in potting his first goal of the season at the James Brown Arena to complete the scoring.
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