Auffrey, Graham's Heroics Earn RiverHawks Game One
The Augusta RiverHawks were pushed to the limit Wednesday night in Game One of the SPHL Quarter-Finals against the Huntsville Havoc, but they were victorious 4-3 in overtime. RiverHawks' Captain Matt Auffrey scored the game winner with just five minutes remaining in the overtime period when he shoveled the puck over an out-stretched Havoc goaltender Mark Sibbald.
The victory gives the RiverHawks a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series that is now headed to Huntsville for Game Two.
The victory looked unlikely as time dwindled down in the third period with the Havoc leading 3-2. Sibbald played fantastically turning away the RiverHawks scoring chances until there was just 12-seconds remaining. RiverHawks' defenseman Drew Baker sent the puck towards the slot, where Neil Graham was able to connect on a slap-shot that beat Sibbald over the shoulder to send the James Brown Arena into hysterics and the game into the extra frame.
The game was a back-and-forth affair throughout, and the overtime goal marked the first time the RiverHawks led the game. The Havoc jumped out in front early in the first period off of a Dennis Sicard goal. However, the game was quickly evened at one when Auffrey scored his first goal of the night, set up by Ken Trentowski and Neil Graham.
Two minutes later the RiverHawks turned the puck over in their own zone while on the power play and Rick Shrank skated in for the Havoc and rifled a shot over the shoulder of RiverHawks' goaltender Peter Skoggard. However, the RiverHawks would once again even the score when Graham scored his first of the game, slipping a loose puck through Sibbald's legs.
A scoreless second period that featured amazing play by Sibbald gave way to a third period that saw the Havoc get a fortunate bounce that ended up behind Skoggard. Forward Justin Fox fired a shot that was stopped by Skoggard, but it bounced to Colin Reddin who banked the puck off of a RiverHawks defenseman and into the net. That set the stage for Graham and Auffrey's late game heroics.
The RiverHawks and Havoc play in Huntsville on Friday. If the Havoc are victorious, the series will shift back to the James Brown Arena for Game 3 Saturday, March 31st. The puck drops at 7:35pm. Tickets for the game are available through the RiverHawks' office and the James Brown Arena box office. Additional information on the Team, tickets, and schedule are available on the RiverHawks' home on the web, www.augustariverhawks.com or by calling 706-993-2645.
• Discuss this story on the Southern Professional Hockey League message board...
Southern Professional Hockey League Stories from March 28, 2012
- Ice Bears to Regroup After Loss - Knoxville Ice Bears
- Auffrey, Graham's Heroics Earn RiverHawks Game One - Augusta RiverHawks
- RiverKings and Lifeblood Team up to Save Lives One Pint of Blood at a Time - Mississippi RiverKings
- Ice Flyers' Chong and Wilson Named SPHL All Stars - Pensacola Ice Flyers
- Ice Bears' Mark Van Vliet Wins Back-To-Back Defenseman of the Year - Knoxville Ice Bears
- Knoxville's Mark Van Vliet Named SBK Defenseman of the Year - SPHL
- Cottonmouths' Sam Bowles Named SBK Player of the Week - SPHL
- Cottonmouths Week in Review - Columbus Cottonmouths
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.
Other Recent Augusta RiverHawks Stories
- RiverKings Announce Protected List for 2013-14
- Augusta RiverHawks Team Owner Releases Statement
- Augusta RiverHawks Sunday, March 10 Home Game Time Shifted
- Remainder of RiverHawks' Home Games to be Played at Augusta Ice Sports Center
- RiverHawks' Home Games This Week To Be Played at Augusta Ice Sports Center