HERSHEY, Pa. -- The Baltimore Skipjacks' winless streak keeps growing.
Last night, before a sellout crowd of 7,743 at Hersheypark Arena, the Bears dealt the Skipjacks their fifth loss to go with one tie in the past six games, 4-2.
Baltimore, which has not won since Dec. 13 in Binghamton, N.Y., when it beat the Rangers, 6-2, slipped into a first-place tie with Hershey in the American Hockey League's Southern Division.
Hershey leads the season series, 3-2-2, and has administered three of Baltimore's losses during the streak. The Bears are 4-0-1 in their past five games.
"We had the opportunity to take first place, and we took advantage of it," said Hershey coach Mike Eaves. "We were very persistent and opportunistic on offense. We had 46 shots, and we executed well. We rose to the occasion."
The Skipjacks grabbed a 1-0 lead early on Steve Martell's unassisted goal, but Hershey rallied with three consecutive goals for a 3-1 lead. Martin Hostak, Len Barrie and Chris Jensen scored for the Bears.
John Purves' goal on a slap shot from just inside the blue line, which beat goalie Dominic Roussel low and to the stick side, cut the deficit to 3-2. But Al Conroy scored an empty-net goal with 16 seconds remaining to clinch the Bears' victory.
"We got outplayed tonight," said Skipjacks coach Rob Laird. "Look at the shot totals. Hershey is playing their best hockey of the season. Bounces are not going our way. Perseverance is the key. We have to get this behind us. This is a marathon. It's not how you start; it's how you finish. The team morale is good. We have to endure the hard times."
Hershey goalie Roussel said: "This was a very big win for us. It put us in first place. Our players are now playing well as a group. We are doing the things we have to do to win. [Goalie Ollie] Kolzig played very well for Baltimore. He kept them in the game."
Kolzig, the Skipjacks' rookie goalie, made 42 saves.
"Hershey always plays hard against us," said Kolzig. "I really thought we were going to win after Martell's goal so early in the first period. I've won games this year that I didn't play well in and lost some in which I played well. You have to take the good with the bad in this game."
Purves said: "We only had one line that played hard in the first period. That was the Martell line. On my goal the defense was pinching in, [Simon] Wheeldon got the puck and I had a jump on the defense. Roussel has a big five hole when he's standing up, and I caught him on his way down."
Barrie, who scored the go-ahead goal for Hershey, said: "My goal came on a transition play in which we converted a Baltimore scoring chance into a two-on-one break. I was the point man trailing the play. I just got the puck and put it in."
The Bears spotted the Skipjacks a 1-0 lead on an unassisted goal by Martell at 3 minutes, 5 seconds of the first period and stormed back to lead, 2-1, after two periods.