The Skipjacks didn't spare themselves any drama in a pair of season-opening weekend victories.
Both Friday's home opener vs. Hershey and Saturday's game in Glens Falls, N.Y., against Adirondack, were decided in the third period. The Skipacks won Friday's game, 7-6, and Saturday's, 6-5.
The Jacks fell behind in each game -- 2-1 against the Bears and 1-0 against the Red Wings -- but coach Robbie Laird said the deficits were no problem with the Jacks' new-found scoring punch.
"We're scoring a lot [13 goals in two games] and the best part is that everybody is getting into the picture," said Laird.
Especially surprising was the play of the line of Todd Hlushko centering Steve Martell and Bobby Reynolds in Saturday's 6-5 win. Martell was scratched in the 7-6 opening win, while Hlushko was an extra forward, not assigned to a normal shift.
"They just clicked immediately Saturday," Laird said. "It was sort of a strange line because Todd hasn't played center at all. But they got three goals with good hard work and determination."
Hlushko has emerged as an offensive force in the opening games, with three goals and an assist to lead the Jacks, along with Reggie Savage.
"He's always been a hard-nosed player, but he ran into people and killed penalties for us as well as adding some scoring punch," Laird said.
But for all of Laird's early-season optimism, the Jacks also gave away nearly as much as they took, allowing 11 goals in the two games.
After Friday's game, in which he saw his defense nearly squander a 6-3 lead with 7:50 left, Laird said he knows it's going to take more than just offense to win games this year.
"The defense is young and we're going to keep working to get better," Laird said.
In both games, Laird started just five defensemen, and found himself in a bind against the Red Wings when Mark Ferner went out after taking a puck to the ankle and Chris Clarke left with a mild concussion.
Ferner wound up not only getting back into the game in the third period but assisting on the crucial final two goals from Savage and Simon Wheeldon.
"It was a great lift for the team for two reasons," Laird said. "We were down to three defensemen and we needed help, and Mark also provides leadership and inspiration for the whole team."
The Jacks return to action Friday night against the St. John's Maple Leafs at the Arena.