NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The Baltimore Skipjacks have cooled down. They had won five of seven games before they lost to the New Haven Nighthawks last night, their second defeat in a row.
In Baltimore's first appearance here this year, the Nighthawks scored two goals within a minute in the second period and emerged with a 4-1 victory before 4,875.
The second-place Skipjacks dropped six points behind the Rochester Americans, Southern Division leaders in the American Hockey Leaghue, who defeated the Springfield Indians, 7-5.
Baltimore's consecutive losses have come against the dregs of the Northern Division -- the last-place Nighthawks and the Maine Mariners, the team just ahead of them.
"They were getting out of their end a little bit too easily," Baltimore defenseman Rob Mendel said of the Nighthawks. "They come up the middle a lot, and they force you to take the middle guy or the wide guy. By the time we made up our minds who to take, they would have a breakaway."
Forechecking was the Skipjacks' most obvious problem. "We couldn't contain them on any end of the ice," Mendel said.
The Nighthawks learned during a recent eight-game road trip that they must improve their checking.
"The thing we learned on the trip was that we could win by playing a tight forechecking and backchecking game," said Pat Hickey, New Haven's associate coach.
The Nighthawks injected some life into a quiet game with the two quick, second-period goals. At 12 minutes, 24 seconds and with Baltimore goalie Jim Hrivnak under a flurry of shots, New Haven right wing Dave Pasin was clear in front of the net and flicked in Steve Rooney's pass from the right corner.
Fifty-one seconds later, Nighthawks right wing Ross Wilson scored on a breakaway. He out-maneuvered Hrivnak despite the pursuit of defenseman Jim Mathieson, who tried to stop Wilson by stick-checking from behind. The goal was Wilson's 18th of the season.
Any hopes for a Baltimore rally were squashed at 5:40 in the third when Pasin scored his second goal, on a two-on-one, breakaway slap shot.
Early in the second period, the Skipjacks had tied it, 1-1, on Jeff Greenlaw's breakaway goal.
Baltimore 0 1 0 -- 1
New Haven 1 2 1 -- 4
First period--1. New Haven, Pavese 4 (Tresl, Pasin), 1:11. Penalties--Mendel, Bal (hooking), 2:02; Tresl, NH (tripping), 10:14.
Second period--2. Baltimore, Greenlaw 13 (unassisted), :38. 3. New Haven, Pasin 9 (Rooney, Smith), 12:24. 4. New Haven, Wilson 27 (Bechard), 13:15. Penalties--Rooney, NH (high stick), 5:59, Chapdelaine, NH (holding), 14:03.
Third period--5. New Haven, Pasin 10 (unassisted), 5:40. Penalties--Smith, NH (tripping), 8:32; Ricard, NH (roughing), 14:09, Maltais, Bal (roughing), 14:09.
Shots on goal--Baltimore, 16-9-4-29. New Haven 10-8-6-24. Goalies--Baltimore, Hrivnak 9-6-5-20; New Haven, Stauber, 16-8-4-28. A--4,875. Referee--Dennis LaRue. Linesmen--J. Sheerers, Scott Hansen.