The Skipjacks finally ran into a team that could more than keep up with them on the offensive end while exploiting their porous defense.
Last night in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the Jacks proved once again that their offense is in fine form. But, again, the defense and goaltending did them in, allowing three goals to the Citadels in less than 3 1/2 minutes of the third period as the Jacks fell 7-5.
As bad as Shawn Simpson's goaltending may appear -- he allowed all seven goals before being pulled for rookie Olaf Kolzig with 4:45 remaining -- it could have been worse. Simpson made at least three big saves, including stopping crafty Stephane Morin on a penalty shot, after he was given no choice but to throw his stick at the forward on the initial play.
"I can't make it sound like it's all Shawn's fault because it's certainly not," coach Robbie Laird said from Halifax, where the team will practice today and tomorrow before heading to Moncton for a Wednesday game (6 p.m., WLIF-AM 1300).
"But he's given up seven goals, six goals and five goals in his three starts," Laird said. "We've won two of them, but there's room for improvement there. When we score five goals on the road I'd like to think that it should be enough to win.
"As for Olie, I put him in to get a taste of action. With us being on the road for three weeks, Olie is definitely going to get to play."
The Jacks took the lead on a goal from Tyler Larter before allowing the Citadels three unanswered goals.
After goals by Alfie Turcotte and Thomas Sjogren tied the game at 3, the teams swapped goals again early in the third period with Morin getting his second and Kent Paynter scoring for the Jacks.
But then the Citadels exploded with three goals in the middle of the final period. "The bottom line is that we ran into a good offensive team -- one that's perhaps better than ours," Laird said. "They tore apart our entire defensive coverage in the third period."
The Citadels (7-5-3), who are undefeated in eight home games this season, lead the AHL in goals with 66. The Jacks (8-4) are second with 64, but have played three less games.