The Binghamton Rangers shot another hole in the sinking Baltimore Skipjacks, beating them, 6-3, last night at the Baltimore Arena.
The victory gives the Rangers a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven Calder Cup playoff series. Game 4 of the Southern Division semifinal will be played tomorrow night at the Baltimore Arena.
The Skipjacks were leading early in the second period, 2-1, on goals by Jim Mathieson and Mark Ferner. But Binghamton scored four consecutive second-period goals, by Tim Armstrong, Dan Lacroix, Tie Domi and Guy Larose, and cruised to victory.
Joel Quenneville added a third-period goal for Baltimore. Peter Laviolette's empty-net goal with 1 minute, 19 seconds remaining completed the scoring.
"We played well, and I'm very happy with the victory," said Rangers coach John Paddock. "We played well in the first two periods and then became a little too relaxed in the third period, and Baltimore came back. Mark Laforest made a big save on Alfie Turcotte, who was shooting at an open net. That would have cut the lead to one. It may have been the key save of the game.
"Baltimore tried to be more physical in the first period tonight than they were in the first two games, but that takes away from some of their offensive players. It's hard to say it was any one thing in the second period -- tough to put your finger on. You can't say we dominated the period. We just got the bounces."
The game was played before one of the smallest playoff crowds in Baltimore hockey history, 1,765. The few who did attend did not hesitate to show their displeasure with the Skipjacks' performance.
Skipjacks coach Rob Laird, who kept the locker room closed for more than 30 minutes after the game, said: "A lot of things happened. We lost Kent Paynter [stick in the eye] and Mark Ferner [10-minute misconduct], and that hurt our power play and our defense. [Baltimore was 0-for-7 on the power play.] We need to be stronger defensively and create more things offensively.
"We didn't want to get to this point, having to win four in a row. Now we have to just try and win one game and not worry about any others."
Some of the fans threw beer onto the Binghamton bench with 10 minutes remaining in the third period, and Rangers players attempted to retaliate with their sticks, but Arena security personnel intervened.
"They threw some beer in on us," said Paddock. "Some of my players saw who they were, and the cops got them."
The victory was the first at the Arena for Binghamton this season after three losses.
"We just lost," said the Skipjacks' Steve Maltais. "We just have to come back. We've won five or six in a row before, and we just have to play each shift and each game as hard as we can."
For the first time in this series, the Skipjacks took a 1-0 lead. Mathieson scored on a slap shot from the left circle that went under Laforest's pads at 5:20 of the first period. Bobby Reynolds set up the goal with a cross-ice pass.
The Rangers wasted little time in tying the score as Joe Paterson put a shot from the right circle through Jim Hrivnak's pads at 6:51.
The Skipjacks squandered a five-minute power play, which included a 48-second span when Baltimore had a two-man advantage and managed only three shots on goal during the five minutes.
Paynter was hit in the left eye with a stick by Rick Bennett midway through the first period. He returned midway through the second period. He has stitches above and below the eye, but the eye itself was not damaged. Bennett was ejected.
Referee Richard Trottier called 59 minutes in penalties in the first period.
Ferner gave the Skipjacks a 2-1 lead 55 seconds into the second period when he scored on a backhand shot from close range.
After that, it was all Rangers.
Binghamton retaliated with two goals in 26 seconds to take a 3-2 lead. Armstrong and Lacroix each scored their first goals of the playoffs.
NOTES: Jack Butterfield, president of the AHL, attended last night's game. . . . G Byron Dafoe was recalled from the Skipjacks Wednesday by the Washington Capitals to be the practice goalie for the remainder of the Stanley Cup playoffs. . . . The New York Rangers recalled RW Steve Rice from Binghamton yesterday. . . . The Skipjacks scratched D Wade Bartley, Bobby Babcock and Jiri Vykoukal and RW Todd Hlushko and Thomas Sjogren. . . . The Rangers scratched LW Greg Spenrath, D Kord Cernich, LW Louie DeBrusk and D Mike Hurlbut.
Binghamton. . 1. . 4. . 1 -- 6
Baltimore . . 1. . 1. . 1 -- 3