The Baltimore Skipjacks' doldrums continued last night.
The Fredericton Canadiens handed the Skipjacks their third straight loss, 3-1, before 3,679 at the Baltimore Arena.
Baltimore stretched its winless streak to five (0-4-1) and its streak to 16 (0-14-2) when trailing after two periods. The Skipjacks managed only four shots on goal in the last period against the tough-checking Canadiens.
"We worked as hard as we could and the effort was there," said Skipjacks coach Rob Laird. "Fredericton did a heck of a job of checking -- we knew they would. We got beat down low in the first period and that cost us. The other goals were on a power play and into an empty net.
"We seem to be in a deep valley and we have to find a way to climb out. We got some great efforts tonight [last night] but we came up short. Our players have to find a way of upgrading their efforts so that we can turn this thing around."
The loss kept the Skipjacks in last place in the AHL Southern Division and ended a three-game losing streak for Fredericton, which leads the Atlantic Division.
The game was filled with fights, shoving matches, scrums and penalties. Referee Dave Jackson called 145 minutes in penalties, 81 against the Skipjacks.
John Ferguson, Steve Veilleux and Ed Ronan scored for Fredericton, the last goal going into an empty net with nine seconds remaining. Simon Wheeldon scored on a pass from Mark Ferner for the Skipjacks.
"We played a good game," said defenseman Ferner. "But we came up short. We can't afford to get down on ourselves, not at this point of the season. We still have a long way to go and we have to turn it around. I can see that it is starting to come, we just have to keep working. A couple of wins and all this will be forgotten and we'll be right back in the thick of things."
Both goalies, Les Kuntar of the Canadiens and Jim Hrivnak of the Skipjacks, made several big saves.
Right wing Steve Seftel, making his first start of the season last night after off-season knee surgery, said: "It was nice to be back playing again. I still have to get my stamina back. I didn't try to do too much all at once. I skated short shifts but I felt good."
Laird said: "Seftel gave us a lift. He went in the corners and he moved the puck well. He is going to help us down the stretch."
"It was a very good hockey game," Canadiens coach Paulin Bordeleau. "Both teams played aggressively and skated well. We just made a couple more breaks for ourselves than Baltimore did."
NOTES: In a collegiate preliminary, UMBC defeated Johns Hopkins, 6-2. . . . RW Steve Seftel and D Bobby Babcock were back in the Skipjacks lineup last night after recovering from injuries. . . . C Victor Gervais and RW Steve Martell have been assigned to ECHL Hampton Roads. . . . Skipjacks' Seftel and Todd Hlushko celebrated birthdays yesterday. Tim Taylor had a birthday on Thursday. . . . Fredericton coach Paulin Bordeleau was a member of the French team in the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, Alberta. Bordeleau's son, Sebastian, 16, plays for Hull in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. . . . LW Patrick Lebeau, Fredericton's leading scorer, is on loan to the Canadian Olympic team and is skating on the same line with Eric Lindros. . . . Montreal sent D Alain Cote to Fredericton for conditioning and recalled G Andre Racicot.
Fredericton 1 1 1 -- 3
Baltimore ..0 1 0 -- 1
First period: 1. Fredericton, Ferguson 14 (Ronan, Larouche), 3:34. Penalties: Dufresne, Fre (roughing), 2:14; Hughes, Bal (roughing), 2:14; Halverson, Bal ( roughing), 4:20; Richer, Fre (slashing), 5:38; Gauthier, Fre (roughing), 6:52; Duncanson, Bal (roughing), 6:52; Sevigny, Fre (high-sticking), 8:24; Simon, Fre (fighting), 14:16; Sabourin, Bal (fighting), 14:16; Greenlaw, Bal (cross- checking), 18:12.
Second period: 2. Fredericton, Veilleux 3 (Ronan, Ferguson), pp, 3:05; 3. Baltimore, Wheeldon 28 (Ferner), pp, 13:58. Penalties: Wheeldon, Bal (hooking), 1:31; Sagissor, Fred (roughing, fighting and misconduct), 3:46; Labelle, Fre (fighting and game misconduct), 3:46; Halverson, Bal (fighting and game misconduct), 3:46; Reynolds, Bal (elbowing, roughing and fighting), 3:46; Greenlaw, Bal (misconduct ), 10:14; Dufresne, Fre (cross-checking), 12:30; Ronan, Fre (slashing), 14:37; Fleming, Fre (charging), 14:37; Hughes, Bal (roughing), 14:37; Gauthier, Fre ( slashing and misconduct), 15:16; .
Third period: 4. Fredericton, Ronan 17 (Gauthier), en, 19:51. Penalties: Veilleux, Fre (roughing), 11:37; Mathieson, Bal (roughing), 11:37; Duncanson, Bal major ( spearing, game misconduct and a gross misconduct), 15:19; Vallis, Fre (tripping) , 19:31 .
Shots on goal: Fredericton 4-12-4-20. Baltimore 8-8-4-20. Power play opportunities: Fredericton 1 of 5. Baltimore 1 of 5. Goalies: Fredericton, Kuntar 2-1-0 (20 shots, 19 saves). Baltimore, Hrivnak 10-7-3 (20-18). Attendance: 3,679. Referee: Dave Jackson. Linesmen: Gary Madsen, Brett Parson.
Opponent: Hershey Bears
Site: Hersheypark Arena, 8
Radio: WERQ (1010 AM)
Tickets: Fewer than 1,000 remain
Outlook: Hershey leads the series, 4-3-2, but Baltimore won the last meeting, 7-4. Hershey is unbeaten in four games at the Hersheypark Arena against the Skipjacks. Hershey will be without RW Pat Murray, C Al Conroy, C Mark Freer and LW Dale Kushner, who are on emergency recall with the Philadelphia Flyers. Former Skipjack Tim Tookey, now playing for Hershey, leads the AHL in scoring. The Skipjacks have sent C Victor Gervais and RW Steve Martell to ECHL Hampton Roads. D Ken Sabourin has been assigned to the Skipjacks by the Washington Capitals.