The Baltimore Skipjacks last night looked as if they finally have regained their pre-holiday form, when they were breezing along in first place in the AHL's Southern Division.
The Skipjacks, who defeated the Adirondack Red Wings, 7-4, last night before 4,849 at the Baltimore Arena, broke a five-game home-ice winless streak and won for the second time in the past 12 games (2-7-3).
"This capped a good weekend for us," said Skipjacks coach Rob Laird. "We played a solid game in Rochester [3-3 tie] Friday, and in spite of the travel we played a very good hockey game tonight. We took the body and made things happen. We played most of the game in Adirondack's zone, as the shots would indicate [Baltimore outshot the Red Wings, 44-22] but we were responsible in our own end."
Laird said the recent acquisitions from the Washington Capitals, Tim Bergland, Shawn Chambers and Jeff Greenlaw, have all contributed to the Skipjacks' turnaround the past two games. Bergland and Chambers came early in the week on conditioning assignment and Greenlaw, returned from a monthlong injury absense with the Capitals.
"Bergland is an NHL player," said Laird. "He gives you an added dimension on both the power play and penalty-killing units. Chambers is big and strong, and he is great on the point on the power play and tough on penalty killing. Greenlaw gives you added muscle up front, and he knows what to do with the puck."
The Skipjacks skated to a 6-3 lead after two periods and then held off the Red Wings, from the Northern Division, in the final 20 minutes.
Baltimore, which scored four power-play goals, got two goals and an assist each from Brent Hughes
and Bergland and one goal from Chambers, Simon Wheeldon and Craig Duncanson.
Lonnie Loach, Kelly Hurd, Chris Tancill and Alex Roberts scored for Adirondack. Referee Rob Martell called a total of 33 penalties for 121 minutes.
The victory enabled the Skipjacks to hold onto second place in the Southern Division, one point behind the idle Binghamton Rangers.
Adirondack pulled goalie Mark Reimer with 1 minute, 14 seconds remaining in favor of an extra attacker, and Baltimore added an empty-net goal by Wheeldon with 21 seconds remaining.