AUGUSTA, Ga – Coming off a Friday night loss, the Mississippi Surge had revenge on their minds when they hit the ice on Saturday, December 8th at the James Brown Arena. With the help of solid goaltending by Kiefer Smiley and a clutch goal by Tommy Lange, the Surge earned a weekend split with a 2-1 overtime win over the host Augusta RiverHawks.
Saturday night’s contest began in much the same way that Friday evening’s match-up did with the home team firing off four shots Smiley who turned them all back. At the 5:51 mark, the Surge had their first power play opportunity when RiverHawks center Kyle Watson was sent to the penalty box for interference. The visitors from Biloxi got no shots at the home team’s net during their man advantage. With just under ten minutes remaining, the Surge once again found themselves with the man advantage when Ian Watters was whistled for boarding. The Surge fired off two shots at RiverHawks netminder Robert Moss who stopped both shots. The visitors from Biloxi and the home team traded shots for much of the remainder of the period. With just 12 seconds left, the RiverHawks had a power play opportunity when Surge center Derek Graham went off for holding. With one tick left on the clock, Surge winger Branden Kosolofsky was awarded a penalty shot for being knocked to the ice while on a breakaway. Kosolofsky failed to convert the penalty shot and the period ended scoreless.
The middle frame began with the home team out-shooting the visitors from south Mississippi, 5-1. Both defenses were solid and both netminders were on point, turning away all shots that headed to their respective nets. At the 15:45 mark, tempers began to flare and a line brawl ensued. Once the officiating crew sorted things out, several penalties were distributed. Surge defenseman James Isaacs was given a five minute major penalty for fighting as well as a minor instigating infraction. Surge winger Payden Benning was also given a five minute fighting major penalty. RiverHawks center Kyle Watson and winger Matt Auffrey each received major fighting infractions. As time expired in the second period, the scoreboard still remained empty.
The first goal of the night went on the scoreboard at the 5:43 mark of the third when Surge defenseman James Isaacs blasted the puck into the back of the RiverHawks net off an assist by Derek Graham. The goal seemed to inspire the Surge defense who played solidly over the next seven minutes, clogging passing lanes and severely limiting shots at their netminder. At the 12:37 mark, the home team evened things up when winger Dennis Sicard shot the puck into the back of the Surge net with assists going to Watters and defenseman William Lacasse. For the remainder of the period the Surge and RiverHawks traded shots at each other’s net with neither team scoring, sending the contest into extra time.
In the overtime, the Surge peppered the RiverHawks net without scoring. The home team managed to take a couple of shots at the Surge net without success. As time was winding down in the extra frame, it seemed like the game was headed to a shootout. However at the 3:56 mark in the period, Lange blasted the puck into the back of the River Hawks net off a feed from Isaacs to send the Surge home with the win.
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