Mix together a flat effort, a hot opposing goalie and the second smallest home crowd of the season and you come up with the Skipjacks' 3-1 loss to Binghamton last night before 1,677 at the Baltimore Arena.
Rookie goalie Boris Rousson made several key saves among his 19 for the game as the Rangers ended the Jacks' five-game winning streak.
"Rousson has been playing well for us," said Rangers coach Ron Smith. "He is an excellent goalie, but he hadn't been lucky. He did a fine job tonight."
Coach Rob Laird felt his Jacks didn't exactly overwork the young goalie, however.
"Their goalie played well, but we were flat, we needed to turn up the intensity a notch," said Laird. "Binghamton got the power-play goal and then played responsible defense. They forechecked well and backed off and let us come at them. We couldn't connect on our passing, we had a lot of offsides and we didn't create enough chances. I've seen us a lot sharper. But this is only a temporary setback. We have to get back on a roll."
Binghamton scored two third-period goals, the final one on an empty net with one second remaining. Brian McReynolds scored twice and Rob Zamuner had the game-winner for the Rangers. Reggie Savage scored for the Skipjacks.
"We played exactly the way I wanted us to play," said Smith. "We got the lead and we protected it. Baltimore tied the score, but we came right back. Then we played good defense and made them work for everything."
Despite the loss, Baltimore has the most victories in the AHL (16), most points (34) and a six-point lead over the Hershey Bears in the Southern Division.
Binghamton grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second period on McReynolds' first goal of the game, but Savage tied the score for Baltimore at 4:19 of the third period.
Savage took a pass from Todd Hlushko on the right boards, beat his defender and stormed in on Rousson and beat him with a shot from the slot that caromed off the goalie's pads.
"Reggie's goal was a nice effort," said Laird. "But we didn't get enough of those kinds of plays. We hit the post a couple of times in the third period but we didn't score."
Two minutes later Zamuner beat Baltimore goalie Byron Dafoe from the top of the slot for the game-winner.
The Skipjacks attacked the Binghamton goal in the final minutes, three times hitting the goal post, but could not score. Dafoe was removed from the cage with 37 seconds remaining in favor of an extra attacker, but the Skipjacks failed to get the equalizer and McReynolds rolled in his empty-net goal just before the buzzer.