The Hershey Bears, scoring the winning goal with 13 seconds remaining, posted a 2-1 victory last night over the Baltimore Skipjacks before the largest Baltimore Arena crowd of the American Hockey League season - 8,128.
Claude Boivin, scoring during a goal-mouth scramble, broke a 1-1 tie. Skipjacks defenseman Mark Ferner gave up the puck in back of his net, and Chris Jensen put the puck out in the slot. Mark Freer took a shot that goaltender Olaf Kolzig stopped, but Boivin poked the puck into the net past the goalie.
"The puck just skidded to me and I put it back toward the cage," said Boivin. "Jensen made the big play getting the puck out front, and I was able to hold my ground just off the goalie's skate, bounced off the far goal post and just went over the line."
"It was a very tough way to lose," said Skipjacks coach Rob Laird. "Ferner failed to clear the puck and Hershey was able to get it out front. Things just didn't turn out our way."
Marc D'Amour, recalled from the Fort Wayne Komets last week, made 27 saves as the Bears evened the season series at 1-1.
I was undecided until just before game time who to start in the goal," said Bears coach Mike Eaves. "I decided to go with D'Amour on a hunch and because Dominic Roussel was pretty banged up in the win over Baltimore Wednesday. My hunch paid off handsomely. We played a solid game for the entire 60 minutes. We had a lot of confidence in ourselves. Even when they (the Skipjacks) tied the score we were calm on the bench and felt we were still the game."
"D' Amour was great in the Hershey goal." said Laird. "I had seen him play a couple of times in the IHL and I knew he was a good goalie. He made some very big saves early that took away our momentum. We played with great intensity in the first period and could have easily been ahead 2-0 if it hadn't been for D'Amour.
"We spent what seemed like the entire second period killing penalties (four), and we couldn't generate any offense. We played a solid defensive game, but we lost because of a mistake at the end.
"I'm almost regretting that we beat Hershey, 12-5, (Oct. 26) because the revenge factor is definitely there," Laird said. "They (the Bears) have really come after us the last couple of games."
Kolzig played a super game at the other end of the rink, making 29 saves, but his teammates just couldn't get the puck past D'Amour more than once.
The Skipjacks trailed, 1-0 after two periods, then tied the score on point Kent Paynter's shot from center point during a power play at 1:35 of the third period. Hershey's Len Barrie, who gave the Bear's a 1-0 lead with a first-perios goal, slashed Chris Felix and the Jacks went on the power play at 1:31.
Reggie Savage won the faceoff at the top of the right circle and Paynter fired his shot past D'Amour.
Felix, who was returned to Baltimore from the Washington Capitals yesterday, is supposed to rejoin the parent club today but he said after the game he hadn't heard anything on his status.
"Your guess is as good as mine," he said.