Scratching, clawing, checking, and most importantly, scoring goals, the Skipjacks are still alive in the Calder Cup hunt.
Last night in Binghamton, N.Y., the Jacks raced out to a 2-0 lead and played tenacious defense in stopping the Rangers, 5-3, forcing a sixth game in the best-of-seven AHL playoff series at the Arena tomorrow night.
"When we score first our guys relax and we settle into a good game," said goalie Jim Hrivnak, who had 29 saves for the Jacks.
Rangers coach John Paddock didn't seem terribly moved by his team's second loss in a row after beating the Jacks three straight to begin the series.
"Baltimore played like they wanted the game more and they won the battles for the puck all night," Paddock said. "Not everyone on our team came to play and we need to put forth a better effort if we are going to beat this team. We were a half-step behind in everything."
Making matters worse was the Rangers' lack of self-control, allowing the Jacks a pair of early power-play situations on retaliation penalties. John Purves and Kent Paynter tallied the extra-man goals and the Jacks grabbed a lead midway through the first period that they never relinquished.
"We took stupid penalties, they scored and we were in the hole," Paddock said.
Rangers forward Corey Millen, who was just sent to Binghamton after the New York Rangers were eliminated by the Washington Capitals in the NHL playoffs, said both Ranger teams have suffered from the same errors.
"It seems like every game I play in lately we're taking the early penalties," Millen said. "You give them a couple of goals and their goalie starts making big saves and then they can sit back and control the game."
But the Rangers didn't die after falling behind by a pair of goals. The Rangers kept the Jacks' lead to no more than two, getting scores from Guy Larose, Joe Paterson and Steven Rice.
The Jacks got even-strength goals from Jeff Greenlaw and Steve Maltais, and an empty-netter from Bobby Reynolds to ice the win.
The Jacks returned after the game last night and were to practice today and tomorrow at the Arena.
"We're still in the same situation," said coach Robbie Laird. "We lose one and we're gone. We've got something going now. We've won two in a row and momentum is on our side."
The only bad news from last night's game for the Jacks is that center Alfie Turcotte may miss the remainder of the weekend with a hyperextended elbow suffered in the third period. After the game he couldn't straighten his arm.