The Baltimore Skipjacks faced early elimination from the American Hockey League's Calder Cup playoffs Saturday night at the Baltimore Arena, but defenseman Chris Felix had different ideas.
Felix, who had missed nearly three months with a broken leg before returning to action just before the Southern Division semifinal series with the Binghamton Rangers began, blasted a slap shot from the top of the slot during a power play with 6 minutes, 42 seconds remaining to give the Skipjacks a 6-5 victory over the Rangers.
"I'm not ready to a take a vacation," said Felix. "I figure I still have some hockey to play.
"It was a nice feeling because it would have been a shame to blow a four-goal lead, especially in our own building."
The Skipjacks, who trail the Rangers three games to one in the best-of-seven series and play Game 5 in the Broome County Veterans Arena in Binghamton, N.Y., Wednesday, sprinted to a 4-0, first-period lead on goals by Bobby Reynolds, Alfie Turcotte, Ken Lovsin and Tyler Larter. They chased starting goalie Mark Laforest in the process. Laforest had frustrated the Skipjacks in the first three games.
But Binghamton kept chipping away and tied the score at 5-5 on Ross Fitzpatrick's goal with 9:18 remaining.
"No one said it would be easy," said Binghamton coach John Paddock. "Baltimore is a good hockey team. Now we have to go home and get the job done. If we could have scored a goal or two on our power-play chances early in the game, it might have been a different story."
Paddock will have two more players Wednesday since the Washington Capitals eliminated the New York Rangers from the National Hockey League's Stanley Cup playoffs Saturday night. Center Corey Millen and right wing Steven Rice will be returned to Binghamton.