The Skipjacks know better than to make excuses for their current position in the Calder Cup playoffs.
Excuses certainly won't erase the nasty 3-0 series deficit the Jacks shoveled themselves into after last night's 6-3 loss to Binghamton at the Arena. Really, there aren't any valid ones to be made.
Pure and simple, the Rangers have proven that they are the superior team.
In one stretch of 9:27 during the middle of the second period the junior Rangers neatly and cleanly picked the Skipjacks apart on both ends of the ice, scoring four goals and building an insurmountable 5-2 lead.
Consider that goalie Mark Laforest was in the Rangers' net -- he of 104 saves in three games -- and the Jacks might as well have been attempting to climb Mount Everest barefooted.
"We all talked about it before the game and we didn't want to let it get to this point," said Jacks coach Robbie Laird. "We played a good first period and the second period killed us. We need to be stronger on defense. We need to be stronger on offense."
Center Alfie Turcotte, the Jacks' leading scorer during the regular season, has felt the wrath of the Rangers' defense as have the rest of the forwards. Last night the only ones to score were an unlikely trio of defensemen -- Jim Mathieson, Mark Ferner and Joel Quenneville.
"They are playing me and everybody else tough," Turcotte said. "They're holding and they're hooking. Their forwards are tying ours up pretty good. But we've been getting held and hooked for 80 games and we've managed to put points up. We're just kind of out there watching them take it from us."
Aside from the pesky play of the entire cast of the Rangers, Laforest has clearly been the difference. When his teammates have allowed the Jacks to get off decent shots -- like the 16 attempts he faced in the third period when the team solely played defense -- Laforest has stood tall.
"We took it to him," said center Tim Taylor, "but he made the saves."