It wasn't a pretty game defensively, but the Skipjacks got their season off to a positive if not impressive start last night, using four third-period goals to defeat the Hershey Bears, 7-6, at the Arena.
With the score tied 3-3 after two periods, the Jacks needed goals from Harry Mews, Randy Pearce, Simon Wheeldon and Todd Hlushko to stave off the Bears' relentless attack on goalie Olaf Kolzig.
The Jacks scored the first three goals of the final to grab what appeared to be a comfortable 6-3 lead with 7 minutes, 50 seconds remaining.
But the Jacks squandered the cushion, allowing the Bears a pair of power-play goals, from Chris Jensen and Al Conroy, to bring the score back to 6-5 with 2:47 left.
Hlushko's breakaway goal with 1:31 left built the lead back to two goals, but Conroy struck again 14 seconds later to make Jacks coach Robbie Laird nervous enough to call a timeout with 1:17 left.
Kolzig (27 saves), who was left unprotected on many of the late goals, saved the win in the final minute.
The Skipjacks took the lead at 5:39 when Reggie Savage rushed into the Bears' zone and, with Chris Clarke on his right, elected to take the shot himself.
Goalie Dominic Roussel made the initial save but the puck flew into the air and bounced into the right corner of the net just as the interference penalty to Wheeldon ended.
Wheeldon came back 40 seconds later with a breakaway, but was stopped by Roussel.
The Bears tied the game at 13:34 on a gift from Clarke, the Jacks rookie defenseman.
Clarke, attempting to clear the puck from goalie Kolzig's left side, fired the puck past his own man. Bears left wing Claude Boivin was credited with the goal.
Just 53 seconds later Bill Armstrong gave the Bears the lead, scoring with an assist from Tim Tookey off a faceoff in the Jacks' zone.
After Jim Mathieson got an extra roughing call in an altercation with Armstrong at 14:30, Jacks' right wing John Purves tied the score, beating Roussel on a breakaway at 15:30 for the season's first short-handed goal.
A minute later, Pearce was whistled for cross-checking, giving the Bears a 27-second, two-man advantage.
It took Bears left wing Chris Jensen 51 seconds to beat Kolzig after Mark Freer fanned on the initial attempt.
The game got rough at 7:02 of the second period when Freer was called for boarding Jacks defenseman Mark Ferner. As soon as referee Lance Roberts stopped play, all 10 men on the ice jumped into the fray.
It resulted in 39 minutes of penalty time, game misconducts to Freer and Brent Hughes, and a five-minute Jacks' power-play advantage.
The Jacks, who were lethargic with the extra attacker, lost the advantage 1:25 later when center Mews was called for interference in the offensive zone.
Savage got his second goal of the evening, tying the game at 3-3, when he and Bobby Reynolds broke into the Bears' zone on a 2-on-1 on defenseman Steve Beadle.
With Beadle moving right to left to pick up the streaking Savage, the second-year center took a pass from Reynolds and poked it through the defenseman's legs and into the net past Roussel, who was badly screened.
Opponent: Adirondack Red Wings
Site: Glens Falls (N.Y.) Civic Center, 7:35
Radio: WYST (1010 AM)
Outlook: The Skipjacks have historically had trouble in Glens Falls, losing 8 of their past 9, including 2 of 3 last season. The Red Wings return veterans D Gord Kruppke, RW Sheldon Kennedy, C Bill McDougall, C Gary Shuchuk, C Micah Aivazoff, RW Brent Fedyk, D Chris Luongo and RW Daniel Shank. The Jacks will be without injured C Tim Taylor (knee), C Vic Gervais (shoulder) and D Bobby Babcock (wrist). Adirondack had 5 hours of overnight travel after last night's game in Rochester. Mark Reimer is the Red Wings' No. 1 goalie.