Jacks watch another win bounce away

December 23, 1991|By Larry Bump | Larry Bump,Special to The Evening Sun

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- The goalies dress in a room that is even smaller than the cramped visitors' dressing room in the bowels of the Rochester War Memorial.

That gave Olaf Kolzig, who had the night off, plenty of opportunity to commiserate with Jim Hrivnak, the losing goalie in the Skipjacks' 6-4 setback to the Rochester Americans last night.

"I told him that was the most unbelievable period of hockey I've ever seen," said Kolzig.

Hrivnak was more concerned with the Southern Division leaders' fourth consecutive loss, to the last-place team no less, than with his ill fortune.

The name of the game could have been "Where did this come from?" with "this" being an oddly bouncing puck that kept finding its way into the Skipjacks' net during a five-minute stretch of the "unbelievable" first period.

The Jacks' Trevor Halverson broke open a scoreless game after 10:03 with his sixth goal of the season and first of two for the night. To that point, a combination of tight defense and passes that barely eluded teammates' sticks had kept anyone from even coming close to scoring. It took Rochester more than six minutes to put its first shot on goal.

After Halverson's goal, the Amerks had no trouble putting shots on, and in, the goal, even when they didn't appear to be headed there.

First, at 14:04, came a shot from out front by Jason Winch. Mark Ferner got his stick on it, but it still went past Hrivnak.

Steve Martell put Baltimore back in front by putting in a rebound of a shot by Halverson at 15:40.

That lead lasted 29 seconds. That's when Jody Gage became Rochester's second-leading all-time scorer with a goal that had to be one of the weirdest of the 268 he has scored for the Amerks. It came on a bad hop that Cal Ripken would have had trouble fielding.

"It actually was going wide of the net, but it went off one of our defensemen's legs and in. It was going wide," Hrivnak said, as if he still didn't believe it.

Rochester took its first lead on a more conventional goal at 17:00, when Darcy Loewen fired in a shot from the faceoff circle to Hrivnak's right.

Then, 10 seconds after Bobby Reynolds went out for elbowing, Gage scored again on what may have been the second-flukiest of his 268 Rochester goals.

Explained Hrivnak: "Our defender and Gage were going for it at the same time, and it hit both their sticks at the same time. It just popped over my head and landed in the corner of the net."

The game reverted to its defensive pattern in the second period when, despite two power plays apiece, neither team could score.

The Jacks battled back in the final period, twice coming within a goal. But Dan Frawley answered Halverson's second score. After Brent Hughes put in his 16th goal on a power play, Rochester's Winch scored his second goal to go with three assists in his first-star performance.

"I don't think we played that poorly," said Hrivnak. He will have time to think about it at home in Montreal before returning Thursday for the Skipjacks' next game, at home against Hershey.

"We just have to get back to the basics that got us into first place to begin with. We're in a little bit of a slump, and when you're in a slump, the bounces rarely go your way."

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