The Baltimore Skipjacks continued their high scoring last night, blasting the Utica Devils, 10-5, in an American Hockey League game before 3,669 at the Baltimore Arena.
The victory, Baltimore's third in a row, moved the Skipjacks into sole possession of first place in the Southern Division, one point in front of the Adirondack Red Wings, who tied the Newmarket Saints, 5-5. The Skipjacks will play the Red Wings here tomorrow at 7:05 p.m.
The Skipjacks have scored 22 goals in their past three games, and the chief point producer has been Steve Maltais, with six goals and seven assists.
Maltais, who has 19 goals and 17 assists this season, scored two goals and handed out five assists, as the Skipjacks jumped to an early lead and coasted. Maltais' seven points tied a club record set by Terry Perkins against the Hershey Bears on Nov. 21, 1987. His five assists tied a team record set by Chris Felix last week.
After the game, the Washington Capitals recalled Maltais, center Alfie Turcotte and goalie Ollie Kolzig. All three are expected to be returned in time for tomorrow's game.
"Maltais is turning into a super scorer," Baltimore coach Rob Laird said. "He's really in a groove. His line [John Purves and Tim Taylor] can become a dominating line. They play well together. ++ Purves seems to be over his problems and is playing very well, and Taylor is scoring and playing well with the puck. They really complement each other."
Purves added two goals and two assists, and Taylor scored two goals. Felix, Ken Lovsin, Jeff Greenlaw and Kent Paynter also scored for Baltimore, which leads the Devils, 2-1, in the season series.
"I'm getting the chances and the puck is going in," Maltais said. "Playing on the same line with John and Tim has helped. I think the reason I'm scoring is that we're working so well together. When we were in the Maritimes [provinces], I was having my problems scoring, but I continued to keep working. Now the puck is starting to drop for me.
"The reason we are scoring so well as a team is that we are taking advantage of our chances. We had been outshooting most of the teams we played. Now we're concentrating on putting good shots on goal and hoping for the rebounds. We're getting a lot of scoring chances."
Purves said: "My game is starting to come around. That first game after I came back here from Washington, I tried to do too much and I was pressing. I wanted to play well and I was messing up my game. Now I've started to relax, play my game and the offense is starting to come again. Also, playing on the same line with Maltais and Taylor has really helped."
Baltimore chased Utica goalie Mark Romaine, who wilted under an eight-goal barrage, after two periods, and Utica replaced him with rookie Smokey Reddick, younger brother of Edmonton Oilers goalie Pokey Reddick. Purves greeted him with a goal at 1 minute, 35 seconds of the third period, and Taylor added another five minutes later, both assisted by Maltais.
"Lets's face it," Felix said. "We didn't face great goaltending tonight, but you have to take the goals when you can get them."
Laird said he was pleased with the offense, but not the defense.
"We didn't have a lot of offensive chances, but we capitalized on the ones we had," he said. "It was an excellent offensive effort, but I'm never happy when we give up five goals. It seemed we had lapses in our concentration, and Utica took advantage and scored. To become a good hockey team, we have to concentrate for 60 minutes and not have those mental lapses like we had the last several games."
Utica 1 2 2 -- 5
Baltimore 4 4 2 -- 10
First period--1. Baltimore, Felix 3 (Taylor, Maltais), 4:12; 2. Utica, Copeland 2, 12:26; 3. Baltimore, Lovsin 3 (Ferner, Maltais), 16:45; 4. Baltimore, Greenlaw 7 (Larter, Seftel), 17:02; 5. Baltimore, Maltais 18 (Felix, Paynter), pp, 18:49. Penalties--Anderson, Uti (fighting), 0:30; Greenlaw, Bal (fighting), 0:30; Anderson, Uti major (high-sticking, fighting and game misconduct), 6:49; Babcock, Bal (instigating and fighting), 6:49; Lovsin, Bal (holding), 8:54; Huscroft, Uti (elbowing), 18:21.
Second period--6. Utica, Bodnarchuk 11 (Sharples, Vilgrain), 6:21; 7. Utica, Madill 15 (Huard, Brady), 7:17; 8. Baltimore, Paynter 8 (Turcotte), 8:30; 9. Baltimore, Purves 7 (Savage, Maltais), pp, 10:54; 10. Baltimore, Taylor 9 ( Purves), 17:30; 11. Baltimore, Maltais 19 (Purves), 17:45. Penalties--Christian, Uti (tripping), 10:22; Felix, Bal(holding), 14:33.
Third period: 12. Baltimore, Purves 8 (Maltais), 1:35; 13. Utica, Vilgrain 8 ( Sharples, Christian), 5:44; 14. Baltimore, Taylor 10 (Maltais), 6:45; 15. Utica, Marcinyshyn 1 (Starikov, Christian), pp, 13:33. Penalties--Laniel, Uti (holding) , 3:03; Babcock, Bal (hooking), 8:10; Babcock, Bal (holding), 11:46; Huard, Uti (misconduct and fighting), 19:04; Babcock, Bal (misconduct and fighting), 19:04; Madill, Uti (misconduct), 19:04.
Shots on goal--Utica 7-18-17-42. Baltimore 8-13-5-26. Power-play opportunities--Utica 1 of 3. Baltimore 2 of 5. Goalies--Utica, Romaine 8-6-0 (21 shots, 13 saves), Reddick, in at start of third, (5-3). Baltimore, Kolzig 6-4-0 (42 shots, 37 saves). A--3,669. Referee--Rob Martell. Linesmen--Randy Wisler, Rich Zerbe.