Skipjacks shoot blanks, but remain in first

December 17, 1990|By Nestor Aparicio | Nestor Aparicio,Evening Sun Staff

In summing up the past week's grueling schedule of five games in six days, the Skipjacks can only dwell on what might have been.

When four of the five games are at home, a 2-3 record just isn't much to be pleased about.

But there remains optimism in the camp because the Jacks somehow managed to not only jump past foundering Adirondack into first place in the Southern Division over the weekend, but hold onto it as well.

Last night's final chapter of a three-in-three homestand saw the Jacks (18-14-1) hungry but terribly ineffective as they were blanked by goalie Tom Draper and the Moncton Hawks, 3-0, at the Arena.

"We had our chances," center Tim Taylor said of the Jacks' 42 shots. "We were in their zone for most of the game and we couldn't get a break. They got a big effort from their goalie and we had a slow start."

It was a strange game of misfortune for the Jacks. When they made great shots, Draper was there to make a big save. When they had Draper beaten and out of position, they made poor shots.

Right wing John Purves, who blew a couple of good chances in the third period, seemed befuddled after the game.

"I couldn't get my stick on it for most of the game," Purves said. "Finally, by the middle of the third period, I just decided to throw the puck on goal hoping someone would get a rebound. But that didn't even work because he was excellent at clearing his rebounds way out to the side. Usually, it'll kick right back out for someone else but not tonight."

Purves, who scored the game-winner in Saturday night's 2-1 win over Moncton, was not alone in his frustration.

The Jacks were shut out on eight power-play chances, including a 5-on-3 for 1:22 late in the second period.

After losing a similar defensive struggle Saturday, Draper and the Hawks' defense appeared ready for any assault. Hardly the friendly sort, by the end of last night's game the Hawks (13-13-8) seemed very willing to take penalties, almost daring the Jacks to score.

"When the goalie is playing that well and the defense is holding us down like that, it's easy to get brave and take chances," Purves said.

As for the Hawks' offense, it was almost nonexistent by the end of the game, managing just six shots in the second period and three in the third to end with 20.

"They weren't trying any fancy rushes or designed plays," Purves said. "If nothing was there, they just dumped the puck in and checked us."

Jacks coach Robbie Laird said his team got into the play a little too late and it cost them.

"We were slow in the first period and they got a goal up on us," Laird said of Tom Martin's goal at 1:36 of the first. "We started playing better in the second but they got another goal [from Scott Schneider] and they stayed in the game until the end."

The Hawks got an empty-net goal from Schneider with 39 seconds left.

Laird said his team's hectic schedule contributed to its downfall.

"Any time you play five in six nights it gets harder to concentrate and remain intense on every shift," he said.

The Jacks remain a point ahead of the Red Wings (15-11-6) with 37 points and are idle until Friday's game at the Arena with Hershey.

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