The Baltimore Skipjacks treated their largest Baltimore Arena crowd of the season, 4,810, to the highest offensive output of the season by battering the New Haven Nighthawks last night, 8-3.
Brent Hughes, who scored three goals and assisted on two, and Reggie Savage, who added two goals and two assists, paced the Skipjacks attack. Todd Hlushko, Simon Wheeldon (two assists), and Trevor Halverson, the Washington Capitals' No. 1 draft choice in June, scored once. Hlushko and Wheeldon also had two assists each.
Baltimore held onto first place in the Southern Division of the AHL and New Haven, which got goals from Paul Willett, Kent Hulst and Lou Franceschetti, a former Skipjack, stayed in last place in the Northern Division.
"Hughes had a very big night for us," said Skipjacks coach Rob Laird. "He is our leader in the locker room, and tonight he was our leader on the ice. His line accounted for six goals. He broke his nose in practice this week, so he is playing in pain."
Hughes has eight goals and 10 assists in 16 games.
"It was a total team effort," said Hughes. "We stuck by the game plan, and everyone contributed."
Savage, who has 10 goals and six assists, credited the Skipjacks defense. "Defense is our game, and our offense comes from our defense," he said. "We played well in our own end, and when we got the opportunity, we put the puck in the net at the other end."
The Skipjacks began the game slowly, managing only three shots in the first period but led, 1-0, on Savage's goal with one second remaining. Goals by Hlushko and Hughes gave Baltimore a 3-1 lead after two periods, but the Skipjacks were struggling offensively.
"You have to credit goalie Jimmy Hrivnak [who won his fourth game in five tries and had 26 saves] with keeping us in the game in the first two periods," said Laird. "We finally got it cranked up offensively in the third period."
The Jacks put together a five-goal barrage in the final 20 minutes, chasing starting goalie George Maneluk when the score rose to 5-1. They treated his replacement, John Tanner, just as roughly.
Baltimore has won four of its past five home games and has won seven of its past nine overall. New Haven has lost both of its games against the Skipjacks this season.
Hughes, who had two goals in the third period, completed his hat trick with a driving shot from just off crease that went into the upper portion of the cage.
"I just buried that last goal," Hughes said with a grin. "It's always nice to score, but it's even better to win games."
@New Haven 0 1 2 -- 3
Baltimore 1 2 5 -- 8
First period--1. Baltimore, Savage 9 (Ferner), 19:59. Penalties--Franceschetti, NH (holding), 0:37; Clarke, Bal (hooking), 3:12; Vykoukal, Bal ( interference), 8:23; Dobbin, NH (tripping), 12:51; Wheeldon, Bal (tripping), 16:56.
Second period--2. New Haven, Willett 2 (Anderson), 1:32; 3. Baltimore, Hlushko 6 ( Highes), 6:16; 4. Baltimore, Hughes 6 (Wheeldon, Bartley), 18:37. Penalties--Ricard, NH (fighting and match penalty), 5:09; Walcott, Bal (instigating, fighting and game misconduct), 5:09;McEwen, NH (holding), 8:45; Turner, NH ( cross-checking), 13:49; Wheeldon, Bal (interference), 14:16; Arneil, NH (holding ), 15:17.
Third period--5. Baltimore, Wheeldon 9 (Purves), 3:11; 6. Baltimore, Savage 10 (Hughes, Wheeldon), 5:39; 7. Baltimore, Hughes 7 (Savage, Hlushko), 7:54; 8. New Haven, Hulst 5 (Anderson, Doyon), 9:03; 9. Baltimore, Halverson 3, 10:57; 10. New Haven, Franceschetti 4 (Turner, Hulst), 15:58; 11. Baltimore, Hughes 8 (Hlushko, Savage), 15:55. Penalties--none.
Shots on goal--New Haven 10-11-8-29. Baltimore 3-11-12-26Power play opportunities--New Haven 0 of 3. Baltimore 0 of 7. Goalies--New Haven, Maneluk 3 -8-0 (19 shots, 14 saves), Tanner, in at 5:39 of third 1-5-0 (7-4). Baltimore, Hrivnak 4-1-0 (29-26). A--4,810. Referee--Luke Galvin. Linesmen--Mike Condon, Matt Dunne.
Opponent: New Haven Nighthawks
Site: Baltimore Arena, 1 p.m.
Radio: WYST (1010 AM)
Tickets: Many good seats available.
Outlook: The Skipjacks play New Haven for the second time in less than 24 hours. The will be the Skipjacks' last home game before embarking on a 4-game trip that will take them to Capital District (2 games), Hershey and Adirondack.