Michel Picard's disputed goal with 1 minute, 31 seconds remaining broke a 2-2 tie and propelled the Springfield Indians a 5-2 American Hockey League victory over the Baltimore Skipjacks last night at the Baltimore Arena.
Picard's 49th goal of the season climaxed a three-on-one break. Picard got in close and slid a wrist shot under Jim Hrivnak's pads.
"We showed some real good things tonight," said Skipjacks coach Rob Laird. "And then we lost on a play like that. Picard hooked Joel Quenneville down when it was two-on-two, and that opened Picard on the right for a three-on-one. He just walked in on Jimmy [Hrivnak] and scored. I don't know how the referee [Steve Walkom] didn't call it."
The Skipjacks protested loudly and Quenneville received a 10-minute misconduct penalty for arguing. But all was for nothing. The goal stood and Springfield added a pair of late goals to finish out the scoring.
The referee was not available for comment.
Picard completed his hat trick by scoring his 50th goal of the season and Blair Atcheynum rubbed some more salt in Baltimore's wounds with a fifth Springfield goal in the final seconds.
"I didn't think I hooked him," said Picard. "I thought he just fell down. Our line worked very hard and we took it to Baltimore. The Skipjacks played well defensively, but we got some breaks and made them count."
John Purves said he didn't think Walkom saw the play. "It was so blatant that if the referee saw it, he had to call it. There is no question that Picard hooked Joel down. I honestly don't think Walkom saw it."
The loss was the third in a row for the Skipjacks. Baltimore is 1-6-1 at home since Feb. 10. The Skipjacks, however, did have their magic number for clinching a Southern Division Calder Cup playoff berth cut to three as Maine defeated Utica, 4-2. Any combination of Skipjacks wins and ties adding up to three points, or Utica losses, will put the Skipjacks in the playoffs.
Springfield .. .. .. .. 2 .. .. 0 .. .. 3 .. -- .. .. 5
Baltimore .. .. .. .. .. 1 .. .. 1 .. .. 0 .. -- .. .. 2
First period--1. Springfield, Day 20 (Richards), 7:15; 2. Springfield, Picard 48 (Andersson, Greig), pp, 15:53. Penalties--Maltais, Bal, double-minor (high- sticking), 12:34; Greig, Spr (holding), 13:30; Bergevin, Spr (holding), 18:33; Bergevin, Spr (elbowing), 19:54.
Second period--4. Baltimore, Savage 29 (Larter, Sjogren), pp, 9:16. Penalties--Baca, Spr (roughing), 8:08; Richards, Spr (slashing), 8:08; Purves, Bal (roughing), 8:08; Maltais, Bal (slashing) 8:08; Chapman, Spr (roughing), 8:35; Bergevin, Spr (fighting), 14:01; Babcock, Bal (instigating and fighting), 14:01; Murray, Bal (roughing), 15:00; Hlushko, Bal (charging), 18:32; Tancill, Spr (roughing), 20:00; Taylor, Bal (slashing), 20:00.
Third period--5. Springfield, Picard 49 (Andersson, Grieg), 18:29; 6. Springfield, Picard 50 (Andersson, Corriveau), en, pp, 19:32; 7. Springfield, Atcheynum 22 (Chapman, Henry), 19:41. Penalties: Black, Spr (boarding), 4:55; Chapman, Spr (roughing), 13:51; Quenneville, Bal (misconduct), 18:29; Bal, bench minor (delay of game), 18:29.
Shots on goal--Springfield 13-8-12-33. Baltimore 14-7-6-27. Power-play opportunities--Springfield 2 of 6. Baltimore 2 of 5. Goalies--Springfield, Knickle 2-0-1 (27 shots, 25 saves). Baltimore, Hrivnak 18-15-5 (32 shots, 28 saves). A--2,510. Referee--Steve Walkom. Linesmen--John Galipeau, Frank Vicaretti.