GLENS FALLS, N.Y. -- Maybe more than just the names have changed for the Baltimore Skipjacks. Maybe the changes, brought about by promotions, demotions and trades, have resulted in a team that can bust an opponent's momentum by answering goals with goals.
Maybe this finally will be a team again in search of the Calder Cup.
Then, again, maybe it's too early to be considering such %J possibilities.
The Skipjacks, now undefeated after two games, held on for a 6-5 American Hockey League victory over the Adirondack Red Wings last night before a season-opening crowd of 3,993 at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
A newcomer and a mainstay off last season's third-place team made sure of the victory with back-to-back goals in the third period that gave Baltimore a 6-4 lead midway through the final 20 minutes. The goals came after the Red Wings' Daniel Shank had tied it, 4-4, 5 minutes and 21 seconds into the third.
First Jacks veteran Reggie Savage skated out from behind the Red Wings net and tucked a backhand around the right post at 6:34. Then, Simon Wheeldon, who had come to the Washington Capitals organization by way of a trade last May with the Winnipeg Jets, skated around Red Wings defenseman Rob Krauss and put the puck through the legs of goalie Mark Reimer at 8:13.
"We lost a lot of really skilled guys, and now we're more of a grinding-type team, but maybe that's what it takes," said Savage, a second-year right wing, whose team opened its season with a 7-6 win over the Hershey Bears on Friday night. "But we also have to start doing it with defense, too. We can't let teams score five or six goals against us every game and expect to win a lot."
Gone from this team are skilled players such as Alfie Turcotte (to Europe), Steve Maltais (North Stars) and goalie Jim Hrivnak, promoted to Washington.
But back is Savage, who already has three goals, and a cast of players coach Rob Laird feels are fast mastering chemistry.
"We've got a lot of talented guys left on this team. I think you saw tonight that they have character, too," "As for Reggie, he's got to be one of our top goal scorers if we're going to be successful."
The blending of old and new has so far been successful. Players like Wheeldon and Craig Duncanson, who assisted on the winning goal, have complemented veterans like Todd Hushko, who scored twice in the first period.
The Jacks scored at opportune times all game.
Bobby Reynolds tied the game at 1 less than one minute after Adirondack's Mike Sillinger made it 1-0 at 6:32 of the first period.
Left wing Brent Hughes, digging out a pass left behind the Red Wings goal by Harry Mews, gave the Jacks a 4-2 lead at 13:08 of the second when he wrapped the puck inside the right post. That came less than three minutes after Sheldon Kennedy had cut the Jacks' lead to 3-2.