TROY, N.Y. -- A quick start and a strong finish were all the Baltimore Skipjacks needed last night against the Capital District Islanders.
The Skipjacks scored three first-period goals and then watched rookie goalie Byron Dafoe protect their lead as they went on to post a 4-3 American Hockey League victory over the Islanders at the Houston Field House.
Dafoe stopped 31 shots as he raised his record to 5-2-0. Fifteen of those saves came in the third period, enabling the Skipjacks to split their two-game weekend series with the Islanders. Capital District won Friday's game, 2-1.
Dafoe's biggest save came with five minutes remaining in the game. Greg Parks, standing to the left of the net, sent a pass into the slot. That's where Ian Fraser was, and he fired a wrist shot toward the net. It appeared Fraser had an opening to Dafoe's glove side.
Unfortunately for Fraser, Dafoe whipped out his left-hand catching glove and made the key save.
"Byron, for a rookie, really battles hard," Skipjacks coach Rob Laird said. "He responds to the pressure. It was a great win for Byron."
It is, especially when you beat a team that had a 10-game home unbeaten streak (6-0-4).
"Those are the type of things that really build confidence in a young guy," Laird said. "It furthers his development. That's what it's all about. For a young guy to win a big game like that has got to be a real shot in the arm for his confidence."
The Skipjacks took advantage of some fortunate breaks to jump out to a 3-1 lead after the first period.
Jeff Greenlaw knocked down a Dean Chynoweth centering pass from behind the Islanders' net. The puck ended up on Trevor Halverson's stick, who was a stride behind Greenlaw in the slot. Halverson rifled the puck past goalie Jamie McLennan at 2 minutes, 56 seconds for the Skipjacks' first goal.