In a rare matchup of an NHL team and its farm club, the Washington Capitals defeated the Skipjacks, 8-2, last night before 2,228 at the Baltimore Arena.
Jeff Greenlaw scored two goals for Washington and six other players scored one apiece. John Byce and Chris Longo scored (( for Baltimore.
Coach Barry Trotz regarded the game as a learning experience for his Skipjacks.
"The team learned a lot simply by playing at a higher pace," he said. "The coaches could see which players reacted well to the increased tempo." Trotz cited center Jeff Nelson and wings Chris Longo and Keith Jones for the way they "uplifted their level of play."
The Capitals jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first period. Less than five minutes into the game, Dimitri Khristich scored the first goal, assisted by Michal Pivonka. Kevin Miller scored a minute later and Greenlaw knocked in the final goal of the period.
The Skipjacks never had played their parent club in a preseason exhibition. Throughout the AHL, such matchups are unusual.
The pressure was on both goalies. Jim Hrivnak, the Capitals' starter, is the Skipjacks' all-time leading goalie in wins with 55 during parts of four seasons. Byron Dafoe, who started for Baltimore, was the Skipjacks' No. 1 goalie last year as a rookie.
"Hrivnak went into the game trying to show he truly belongs in the NHL," said Skipjacks owner and general manager Tom Ebright. "Dafoe was trying to show that he was the one the Caps should have kept."
Dafoe was peppered by 41 shots and made 33 saves. Hrivnak made 22 saves on 24 shots.
NOTES: The Skipjacks will play the Hershey Bears in an exhibition Tuesday (7:35 p.m.) before opening the season Friday (7:35 p.m.) against the Binghamton Rangers at the Arena. . . . They will play the Hershey Bears the following night. . . . The Capitals will play at Philadelphia tonight in their final tuneup before opening their NHL season Tuesday at Toronto. The opener was switched from Wednesday to avoid a conflict with a Blue Jays' baseball playoff game. . . . The Capitals announced they have assigned G Olaf Kolzig to the Rochester Americans of the AHL . Kolzig, 22, was the Capitals' first choice, ninth overall, in the 1989 entry draft. He has split the past two seasons between the Skipjacks and the ECHL Hampton Roads Admirals. He was 5-17-2 with Baltimore.