The Baltimore Skipjacks, taking advantage of a team-record three short-handed goals, defeated the Hershey Bears, 8-5, in an American Hockey League game before 4,590 at the Baltimore Arena last night.
Jeff Greenlaw, Tyler Larter and Mark Ferner scored while the Skipjacks had a man in the penalty box, breaking the record of two in a game accomplished three times by Skipjacks teams. The AHL record is four short-handed in a game, by the Fredericton Express against the Newmarket Saints in 1988.
Hershey has allowed 12 short-handed goals this season, the most in the AHL. It was the third time in Bears history that they allowed three in a game.
"Any time you score a short-handed goal, it gives you a lift," Baltimore coach Rob Laird said. "Getting three was a great accomplishment, but we didn't go by our game plan.
"I wanted a tight defensive game, and that's what we played for the first two periods, limiting Hershey to just 15 shots. Then we got ahead, 6-2, and forgot about playing defense, and Hershey took it to us."
The victory enabled Baltimore, which has won four of its past five, to hold on to second place in the Southern Division.
Greenlaw, Todd Hlusko and Reggie Savage each scored two goals for the Skipjacks, and Ken Lovsin had three assists. Hlushko contributed two assists.
Baltimore sprinted to a 6-2 lead, then had to hold off a last-period rally by Hershey, as the Skipjacks went into a defensive shell. Hershey, outshooting Baltimore, 15-4, in the third period, cut the Skipjacks' lead to 6-5 with 6 minutes, 29 seconds remaining. Hlushko, however, scored on a pass from Savage at the 15-minute mark, and Savage, on an assist from Hlusko, gave Baltimore its final margin with 2:12 remaining.
"Hlushko's goal in the third period was the game-breaker," said Larter. "We got a big lead, sat back and admired what we had done, and let Hershey get back in the game. But Hlushko gave us some breathing room with his goal, and then Reggie [Savage] added the clincher."
"Hlushko did a great job for us coming off the bench," said Laird. "He gave us a big lift. He was excellent on offense and played a tight forechecking game."
Chris Jensen and Tim Tookey scored twice for Hershey. Tookey, in his first game after suffering a broken ankle on opening day, added three assists.
"The line of Greenlaw, Steve Seftel and Rob Murray did an excellent job," said Laird. "They were my checking line, and they not only played excellent defense but contributed offense as well."
Murray was sent to the Skipjacks Thursday on two weeks' reconditioning assignment by the Washington Capitals.
"It was good to get some ice time again," he said. "I had been sitting around a lot at Washington. I'm here and I want to contribute. I hope to do well and show them [Capitals executives] that I can do the job."
Hershey coach Mike Eaves said: "It's beginning to be a pattern with this club that we don't start playing until we get in trouble. We can't use the excuse anymore that we're a young team, because it is getting too late in the season for that."
Baltimore defenseman Kent Paynter was hit in the ankle by a Hershey shot in the third period and had to leave the game. He did not accompany the team to Glens Falls, N.Y., last night.
NOTES: In a collegiate preliminary game, Loyola defeated Georgetown, 3-0. . . . The Skipjacks returned goalie Alain Harvey to the Richmond Renegades of the East Coast League. Harvey had been Baltimore's backup goalie the past week. . . . Baltimore was without defensemen Jim Mathieson (shoulder) and Rob Mendel (ribs). . . . Next week, the Skipjacks will play at the Baltimore Arena on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.