UTICA, N.Y. -- John Purves, Jeff Greenlaw and Alfie Turcotte scored consecutive goals in the last four minutes of the second period, as the Baltimore Skipjacks avenged their only loss of the season with a 5-1 American Hockey League victory over the Utica Devils last night at Utica Memorial Auditorium.
The Devils had moved into sole possession of first place in the Southern Division by winning four of their last five games, including a come-from-behind, 4-3 victory in Baltimore Tuesday. But the Skipjacks took command of last night's rematch in the second period, moments after Utica rookie Jeff Christian's power-play goal had cut Baltimore's lead to 2-1.
Purves poked in a rebound of Tim Taylor's wrap-around try at 16 minutes, Greenlaw scored from a sharp angle at 16:30 and Turcotte made it 5-1 with only four seconds remaining in the second period.
Turcotte, Greenlaw and Steve Seftel each had a goal and an assist, Thomas Sjogren added a goal, and goaltender Jim Hrivnak stopped 27 of 28 shots as Baltimore, 5-1, grabbed a share of the Southern Division lead. Co-leader Utica dropped to 5-5 with its loss in three home games.
The game was the road-weary Devil's 10th in 15 nights and only their third on home ice. Utica is idle until Friday night when they play the Adirondack Red Wings (3-3) of the Southern Division at Glens Falls. Baltimore plays the Capital District Islanders tonight in Troy.
Seftel scored the only goal of the first period, his first of the season. Reggie Savage slipped behind Utica defenseman Marc Laniel for a shot that goaltender Mark Romaine rejected, but the rebound bounced toward the right circle and an unchecked Seftel knocked it into an open net at 10:00.
It was a listless first period for the Devils. Hrivnak, though seldom tested, stopped all 11 Utican shots, notably with a kick save on Jason Simon's breakaway try just 5:20 into the game, Devils right winger Jeff Madill set up two other prime scoring chances, but Hrivnak denied both Jeff Sharples and Bill Huard from the slot, and the Skipjacks took a 1-0 edge into the first intermission.
It took the Devils nearly 10 minutes to put a shot on net in the second period and by then, Sjogren's third goal of the season had given Baltimore a 2-0 lead. The Skipjacks worked for it, too, with Turcotte digging the puck away from defenseman Sergie Starikov in the right corner and Sjogren redirecting Ken Paynter's shot from the right point past Romaine at 3:53.