TROY, N.Y. -- A week off did wonders for the Baltimore Skipjacks' power play. It clicked for the first two goals of the game and provided the springboard for a 4-1 victory over the Capital District Islanders last night.
Idle since Jan. 4, the Skipjacks built a 3-0 lead after two periods and coasted in for their 23rd American Hockey League victory of the season. The triumph extended their unbeaten streak to five games (4-0-1) and solidified their hold on second place in the Southern Division.
Thomas Sjogren and Mark Ferner each scored a power-play goal for Baltimore, which had come into the contest with a dismal 4-for-43 ratio in their recent man-advantage situations. But a week of practice sharpened up the specialty-team unit, as the Islanders found out quickly.
TTC Sjogren popped in his 19th goal 5 minutes, 56 seconds after the opening faceoff with the Islanders' Brad Dalgarno sitting in the penalty box. Sjogren's wrist shot from the deep slot beat goalie Paul Cohen.
Ferner made it 2-0 with another power-play goal at 12:02 of the second period. His shot from the left circle caught Cohen leaning the wrong way to give the Baltimore defenseman his fourth goal of the season.
These two teams had begun 1991 with a game in Baltimore on New Year's Day. It ended in a 3-3 tie. But last night's outcome was never in doubt as Capital District ran its winless streak at home to eight games. The Islanders haven't won here since Nov. 23 when they defeated the Utica Devils, 6-4.
Baltimore (23-16-2) took a 2-1-1 lead in the season series and won for the first time in Troy. The Skipjacks had lost 7-4 to the Islanders in their only other visit here on Oct. 21.
Alfie Turcotte's 16th goal at 14:04 of the second period made it 3-0 for the Skipjacks. The Baltimore center turned and fired from the right circle and beat Cohen along the ice to the far side.
Capital District broke a dought of six scoreless periods at home by collecting a power-play goal at 5:32 of the third period. Shawn Byram's 17th of the season came with Bobby Babcock in the box.
But the Skipjacks quickly got that back when Tim Bergland scored an unassisted goal at 11:01.
NOTES: Defenseman Dean Chynoweth and forward Tom Fitzgerald returned to the Islanders lineup after being sent down by the parent NHL club in New York. Both players were recalled on Dec. 10. . . . Forward Rob Dimaio was also back in the Capital District lineup after missing 13 games with a knee injury. . . . Islanders rookie Travis Green was benched for the first time this season. . . . Skipjacks center Tim Taylor was hit on the right arm by a puck while on the bench in the first period. He skated off with an ice pack on his arm but returned to action later. . . . A busload of fans from the Skipjacks' booster club made almost more noise than the Islanders' fans, which were few in number due to a snow storm.