The Baltimore Skipjacks, playing a tight defensive game, ran their winning streak to three last night by defeating the New Haven Nighthawks, 3-2, in an American Hockey League contest at the Baltimore Arena.
The victory was the fifth in the past six games for Baltimore and enabled it to hang on to second place in the Southern Division. The Adirondack Red Wings defeated the Springfield Indians, 6-5, to stay a point in front of Baltimore.
Jeff Greenlaw, John Purves and Thomas Sjogren scored for the Skipjacks. Former Skipjack Scott Harlow and Scott Young got New Haven's goals.
Sjogren's unassisted goal at 15 minutes, 25 seconds of the second period broke a 2-2 tie and propelled the Skipjacks to victory.
The Baltimore defense limited New Haven to 16 shots.
"That was our best defensive game of the season," Skipjacks coach Rob Laird said. "New Haven had only four opportunities to score in the entire game, and usually the average is between 15 and 18.
"The defense did a tremendous job in front of [goalie] Shawn Simpson, and the forwards played their men all over the ice. This is the kind of effort we need now that [Alfie] Turcotte and [Steve] Maltais are with the [Washington] Capitals and Tyler Larter is injured. If we can play like that, we're going to be OK."
Larter reinjured his ankle in the first period and had to leave the game. "I sprained it in Adirondack Saturday, and I tried to go tonight," Larter said. "But I fell on it in the corner in the first period, broke the tape, and I just couldn't skate after that."
The Nighthawks pulled goalie Robb Stauber, with 57 seconds remaining to get an extra attacker on the ice, but the Skipjacks defense did not allow a shot.
"We got a great defensive effort from everyone," Greenlaw said. "It's nice to score eight goals in a game, but you can't expect to do it every game. So you have to know you are capable of playing defense."
Greenlaw has scored at least a point in his past five games. "I just keep working, going to the net and trying to put the puck on goal," he said. "We are primarily a checking line. Rob Murray, Steve Seftel and I play the other team's top scoring line, and we're supposed to shut them down. That's our job. Anything we get offensively is just gravy. Playing with guys like Murray and Seftel has helped me. We work very well together."
Referee Steve Walkom called only one minor penalty.
"It was a very quick game," said Simpson, who won his third in a row and fifth of the season. "The defense did a super job. Any time the other team gets only 16 shots, you know you are doing a job. Getting that first goal early by Greenlaw also helped."
"My three center men -- Murray, Tim Taylor and Victor Gervais -- played a great game," Laird said. "They led the team in takeouts, and that was one of the main reasons our defense operated so efficiently."
The Skipjacks scored on their first and last shots of the first period and grabbed a 2-1 lead.
Greenlaw, redirecting a shot from the left point by Joel Quenneville, gave Baltimore a 1-0 lead at 1:14.
#Opponent: Maine Mariners
Site: Portland Civic Center, 7:35 p.m.
Radio: WLIF (1300 AM)
Outlook: The clubs split their first two meetings. C Ralph Barahona and RW Shayne Stevenson, both rookies, are the leading scorers for Maine, the top farm club of the NHL Bruins. C Ken Hodge is on recall with Boston. D Rick Allain has been returned to ECHL Johnstown, and RW Peter Hankinson has XTC been recalled from IHL Fort Wayne. The Skipjacks will be without D Jim Mathieson (shoulder) and D Kent Paynter (ankle). C Alfie Turcotte and LW Steve Maltais are on recall with NHL Washington.