Continuing their road assault last night in Newmarket, Ont., the Skipjacks are now not only looking like playoff shoo-ins, but a team that could make a run at the Calder Cup.
Again it was the work of goalie Jim Hrivnak, who stopped 30 of 31 shots, that spurred the Jacks on to a 2-1 victory over the Saints.
"The team played well in front of me and helped me out," said Hrivnak, who has been in goal for the Jacks' four straight road wins dating back to Friday. "We're getting goals at the right time and we're playing like I always knew we could."
When Mike Stevens beat Hrivnak at 5:11 of the third period on a power play for the Saints' lone goal, it snapped a string of 121 scoreless minutes for Hrivnak, who has allowed seven goals in the four wins.
"I think Jimmy is being a little modest when he gives the credit to the rest of the team," said Jacks coach Robbie Laird. "We were outshot 11-4 in the first period and he did everything but stand on his head to stop the puck and keep us in the game. He's the reason we won."
The Jacks (36-29-5) were again streaky, getting four shots in the first period, 21 in the second and just six in the third. John Purves and Steve Seftel scored during the 2nd-period barrage.
"I don't like to see us come in cold like we did, but all in all we played pretty well for doing all of the traveling we've done since Friday," said Laird. "As a coach, nothing makes you feel better than winning road games."
The Jacks, one point behind second-place Binghamton (35-28-6) in the Southern Division with 77, have brought their road record up to the .500 mark, at 16-16-3.
Laird also said he has been impressed with how the team has adapted from a running and gunning offensive machine early in the season to 1-0 and 2-1 victories in back-to-back games.
"We made a big deal early in the season about the offense, but this team has changed rather dramatically since October," Laird said. "We're checking, forechecking, we're taking the body and we can play the dump-and-chase game and win."