Skipjacks' goal is more goals Game with Hershey opens season tonight

October 04, 1991|By Bill Free

Let the good times begin.

That was the word from Baltimore Skipjacks coach Rob Lairyesterday, as he sent his team through its final workout in preparation for tonight's American Hockey League season opener against the Hershey Bears at the Baltimore Arena.

"People like to see goals and fights, and we're good at both ofthem," said Laird. "We're going to a new system this season that has us emphasizing offense more than in the past. The Washington Capitals [the Skipjacks' parent club] have been criticized for not scoring enough goals, so the organization is going to concentrate more on putting the puck in the other team's zone."

Laird said he has been dealt players from the Capitals this season who should enable him to satisfy the organization's zest for scoring.

Among the returnees are center Tim Taylor, who had 67 points (25 goals, 42 assists) in 79 games last season; right wing Reggie Savage, who had 61 points (32 goals, 29 assists) in 63 games; and right wing John Purves (22 goals, 29 assists for 51 points in 53 games last season).

Also, a lot of scoring is expected from newcomers Trevor Halverson, Craig Duncanson, Brent Hughes and Simon Wheeldon.

Halverson, a left wing, was the Capitals' second choice in the 1991 entry draft after he scored 59 goals and had 36 assists in 64 games for the North Bay Centennials in the Ontario Hockey League.

Left wings Duncanson and Hughes and center Wheeldon came to Washington last May from Winnipeg in a deal that sent Kent Paynter, Bob Joyce and Tyler Larter to the Jets.

"We haven't forgotten about defense," said Laird. "Washington has always been known as a defensive-oriented organization. It's just that we want to find ways to put the puck in the net more often."

What about the fighting?

"Our guys have shown a lot of team things in a few days [that

have included two preseason games against Hershey]," said Laird. "We stand up for each other, and we have some hard-working guys, like [Mark] Ferner, Purves and Duncanson. Our two strengths are scoring and aggressiveness."

Laird said the Skipjacks are inexperienced on defense, but he has confidence in his top two goaltenders -- Olaf Kolzig, who will start tonight, and Byron Dafoe.

"Olaf is big [6 feet 3, 207 pounds] and covers up a lot of the net, and Byron is very quick," said Laird. "They both work hard and only need to experience playing at this level."

But it's the players such as Purves who figure to make the Skipjacks go this season.

Skipjacks schedule

) (All times Eastern, p.m.)

October

4 Hershey,.. .. .. .. . 7:30

5 at Adir'dack,.. .. .. 7:30

11 St. John's,.. .. .. 7:30

12 at Adir'dack,.. .. . 7:30

18 Maine,.. .. .. .. .. 7:30

19 Maine,.. .. .. .. .. 1:00

20 at N. Haven,.. .. .. 7:05

25 Springfield,.. .. .. 7:30

26 Springfield,.. .. .. 7:30

November

2 Utica,.. .. .. .. .. 7:30

3 Utica,.. .. .. .. .. 7:00

5 Halifax,.. .. .. .. . 7:00

8 at Springf'd,.. .. .. 7:35

9 at Maine,.. .. .. .. 7:35

10 at Maine,.. .. .. .. 2:05

15 New Haven,.. .. .. . 7:30

16 New Haven,.. .. .. . 1:00

22 at Cap. Dist.,.. .. 7:35

23 at Cap. Dist.,.. .. 7:35

24 at Hershey,.. .. .. 7:00

27 at Adir'dack,.. .. . 7:30

29 Cape Breton,.. .. .. 7:30

30 at Utica,.. .. .. .. 7:30

December

1 Hershey,.. .. .. .. . 7:00

7 at Cap. Dist.,.. .. . 7:35

8 Rochester,.. .. .. .. 7:00

10 Bingh'ton,.. .. .. . 7:00

13 at Bingh'ton,.. .. . 7:35

14 at Hershey,.. .. .. 8:00

20 Hershey,.. .. .. .. 7:30

21 at Utica,.. .. .. .. 7:30

22 at Rochester,.. .. . 7:05

26 Hershey,.. .. .. .. 7:30

28 at Hershey,.. .. .. 7:30

29 at Rochester,.. .. . 7:05

31 at Utica,.. .. .. .. 6:00

January

1 St. John's,.. .. .. . 5:00

3 Rochester,.. .. .. .. 7:30

10 at Rochester,.. .. ..7:35

11 Adir'dack,.. .. .. . 7:30

14 Moncton,.. .. .. .. 7:00

17 Utica,.. .. .. .. .. 7:30

18 at Hershey,.. .. .. 7:30

19 Bingh'ton,.. .. .. . 7:00

24 Hershey,.. .. .. .. 7:30

25 at Springf'd,.. .. . 7:35

31 Adirondack,.. .. .. 7:30

February

1 at Bingh'ton,.. .. .. 7:35

2 Utica,.. .. .. .. .. 7

7 Fredericton,.. .. .. 7:30

8 at Hershey,.. .. .. . 8

9 New Haven,.. .. .. .. 7

12 at Bingh'ton,.. .. . 7:35

14 Hershey,.. .. .. .. 7:30

16 at Rochester,.. .. ..7:05

17 at Utica,.. .. .. .. 2

19 at N. Haven,.. .. .. 7:05

21 at N. Haven,.. .. .. 7:05

22 at Hershey,.. .. .. 7:30

23 at Bingh'ton,.. .. . 5

28 Cap. Dist.,.. .. .. 7:30

29 Cap. Dist.,.. .. .. 1

March

1 at Hershey,.. .. .. .. 7

3 Springfield,.. .. .. . 7

6 Rochester,.. .. .. .. 7:30

8 Rochester,.. .. .. .. 7

14 at Springf'd,.. .. .. 7:35

15 Adirondack,.. .. .. . 7

17 at C. Breton,.. .. .. 6:30

18 at Halifax,.. .. .. . 6

19 at Fred'ton,.. .. .. 6:30

21 at St. John's,.. .. . 6

22 at St. Jn's,.. .. .. 12:30

24 at Moncton,.. .. .. . 6:30

27 Hershey,.. .. .. .. . 7:30

28 Cap. Dist.,.. .. .. . 7:30

31 Bingh'ton,.. .. .. .. 7

April

3 Hershey,.. .. .. .. .. 7:30

4 at Hershey,.. .. .. .. 7:30

5 Bingh'ton,.. .. .. .. .7

Skipjacks tonight

Opponent: Hershey Bears

Site: Baltimore Arena, 7:30 p.m.

Radio: WITH (1230 AM)

Outlook: This is the first of 16 meetings this season between these longtime rivals, and, fittingly, it's opening night for the Skipjacks. LW Craig Duncanson has been named captain of the Skipjacks. If the Orioles-Tigers game at Memorial Stadium tonight is rained out, ticket-holders will be admitted free to the Skipjacks-Bears game. The Jacks won the series, 9-5, last season. Both teams have lost their top 2 scorers from last season. Hershey has lost Craig Fisher (43 goals, 36 assists) and Brian Dobbin (35 goals, 43 assists), and gone from Baltimore are Alfie Turcotte (33 goals, 52 assists) and Steve Maltais (36 goals,

43 assists).

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