The Baltimore Skipjacks last night looked as if they hadn't recovered from Saturday's heartbreaking loss to the Hershey Bears, who rallied for four third-period goals.
The Skipjacks gave up two first-period goals, by Rick Bennett and Shaun Sabol, and the Binghamton Rangers' defense, anchored by goalie Mark Laforest, beat the Skipjacks, 3-0, before 3,187 at the Baltimore Arena.
The loss was the second in a row for the Skipjacks and kept them from taking undisputed possession of first place in the AHL Southern Division. The loss also ended a three-game home winning streak for Baltimore. The win boosted Binghamton into first place in the Southern Division past the Skipjacks and the idle Utica Devils.
Laforest (15-7-1) recorded his first shutout of the season, making 21 saves.
"The first shutout is nice," said Laforest. "Our defense played well. They let me see the puck and cleared out the rebounds."
The shutout was the second of the season for the Skipjacks, who lost to the Maine Mariners, 3-0, Oct. 18, also at the Arena.
"That was a very big win for us," said Rangers coach Ron Smith. "It put us in first place, and we have played four games less than the rest of the teams. We had an edge because Baltimore was playing its third game in three nights and we were sitting here in our hotel getting a lot of rest. We took advantage of it.
"Laforest played well. He made about 10 big stops in the second and third periods, and our defense played well."
Binghamton added an empty-net goal by Daniel Lacroix with 40 seconds remaining.
"The fatigue factor was definitely there," said Skipjacks coach Rob Laird. "Binghamton played a solid game, checked well and did the right things on defense. Once Binghamton gets the lead, they're very tough to catch."
Binghamton outshot the Skipjacks, 14-5, and outscored them, 2-0, in the first period. Rick Bennett, after intercepting a Baltimore pass, fired a shot from the top of the slot that went over goalie Olaf Kolzig's right shoulder and Shaun Sabol, just off the crease, put the rebound of a shot by Chris Cichocki through Kolzig's pads for a 2-0 lead.
NOTES: Last night was RW Tim Bergland's last game on his 2-week conditioning assignment by Washington. . . . Binghamton has the best power play in the AHL, 25.23 percent. . . . The Skipjacks are ninth at 19.77 percent. . . . The Skipjacks last night scratched RW Steve Martell and C Tim Taylor, RW Steve Seftel (knee) and D Bobby Babcock (wrist) are injured. . . . The Rangers scratched D John Mokosak, LW Mike Stevens and LW Joe Paterson. . . . GM David Poile and head coach Terry Murray of the Capitals, along with Rick Paterson, an assistant coach for Pittsburgh, were in the press box last night.