All of the Skipjacks' negative streaks came to an end last night at the Baltimore Arena.
Baltimore, which broke a 10-game winless streak, defeated the Capital District Islanders, 3-0, before 8,933 on Hall of Fame Night.
The victory was the first for the Skipjacks since March 6, when they defeated the Rochester Americans, 3-2. It was also the first shutout of the season by Baltimore and the first in the AHL for goalie Ollie Kolzig, who made 26 saves. The Skipjacks' last shutout was March 10, 1991 by Jim Hrvinak against New Haven.
"I was so glad to get the win, my first of 1992, that I look at the shutout as a bonus," said Kolzig, whose last win was Dec. 7, also against Capital District, 6-2. "The whole team played great. The defense broke up two or three two-on-ones, and I didn't have to make very many saves on rebounds. Not only did the defense clear out the puck, but the forwards came back and forechecked."
Last night's crowd was the second-largest of the season at the Baltimore Arena, surpassed only by Friday's crowd of 9,410 for a 3-3 tie with Hershey. The two-night total of 18,343 is the largest of the season for back-to-back games in the AHL.
Jeff Greenlaw, John Purves and Martin Jiranek scored for the Skipjacks, and Jiranek, from Bowling Green University, had an assist. Purves also had an assist.
"The team is doing a lot better now," said Purves who scored his career-high 42nd goal. "We're supposed to play the same way no matter how many people are in the stands, but the big crowds pulling for us the last two nights has to help our confidence. It was good to reward them by playing well. The 42 goals are the most I've ever scored at any level of hockey."
Jiranek, who scored his first professional goal, has been with the Skipjacks for five games and has a goal and six assists.
"It was a big relief getting my first goal," Jiranek said. "I had a couple of chances in earlier games and missed, and I started to hesitate a bit. Now that I've got my first goal, I can get on with the games.
"The players up here are bigger than in college, and there is a lot of clutching and grabbing. It seems that someone always has his stick on you. I've just got to fight through it. I don't think the players are faster here, but the rinks are smaller and the puck is moved faster than in college. The passing is harder, faster and more accurate. You have to concentrate more to keep up with the game."
Barry Trotz, the Skipjacks coach, said: "We played a good responsible game. Kolzig was solid, like a wall back there. I was happy with all my players' efforts."
NOTES: Eight men -- former Clippers and Skipjacks players, two coaches, a trainer and a broadcaster -- were inducted as the first members of the Baltimore Hockey Hall of Fame. Former Clippers RW Howie Menard, D Kent Douglass and G Gilles Boisvert and former Skipjacks D Bennett Wolf are the players. Terry Reardon of the Clippers and Gene Ubriaco of the Skipjacks are the coaches. Ray 'Gump" Embro of the Clippers is the trainer, and Jim West of the Clippers is the broadcaster. . . . Washington Capitals head coach Terry Murray led a contingent to last night's game.