Three power-play goals helped propel the Baltimore Skipjacks to a 4-3 victory last night over the Utica Devils before 2,732 at the Baltimore Arena.
Mark Ferner, Reggie Savage and Simon Wheeldon scored extra-man goals for Baltimore, with Wheeldon getting the game-winner at 4:39 of the second period.
"Our power play was good, it was something we talked about before the game," said Skipjacks coach Rob Laird. "Savage scored a nice goal in front, Ferner got his goal of the season and Wheeldon made a nice play on his game-winner.
"Also, we made a concerted effort to shut down the line of Valeri Zelepukin, Neil Brady and Brian Sullivan and we accomplished this."
Baltimore, which gained a split in the weekend American Hockey League series with the Devils, jumped off to a 3-1 lead in the first period and never trailed. In addition to the power-play goals, Brent Hughes scored while the teams were even.
"We had a very good first period," said Laird. "We have a lot of aggressive guys on this team and we play with a lot of intensity."
Savage said "Our hard work paid off for us. I believe I'm skating better and our offensive is getting better. Everything is coming together."
Utica coach, Herb Brooks, said: "It's very hard to beat a team, especially one like Baltimore which has a decided experience advantage, two nights in a row in their building. We killed penalties better last night [Saturday] and the power play was what cost us tonight. You can't give a guy nine power play chances and expect to survive. I also thought that Byron Dafoe [Skipjacks goalie] played very well in the third period. He was at the top of his game."
It took only 38 seconds for the Devils to cash in on their first power play opportunity. Baltimore's Richie Walcott was called for interference at the 20-second mark by referee Lance Roberts.
Eighteen seconds later, Zelepukin took a pass from Neil Brady, skated in on Dafoe and found an opening between his pads for his 11th goal of the season.
The Skipjacks tied the game seven minutes later during a power play, as Ferner scored his first goal of the season on a slap shot from the top of the right circle.
Hughes gave Baltimore a 2-1 lead at 9:25 when he got the puck in the circle, and came around the cage from behind to beat goalie Chad Erickson with a wrap-around shot that went between Erickson's skates.
Savage, scoring the Skipjacks' second power play goal of the period, raised the score to 3-1 when he knocked the rebound of a shot by Wade Bartley past Erickson at 14:51.
Utica, with a two-man advantage for 1 minute, 22 seconds, got its second extra-man goal on Miles O'Connor's slap shot from the right point at 17:15, cutting the Skipjacks' lead to 3-2.