Jacks edge Bears, 2-1, stay unbeaten End 8-game winless streak in Hershey

October 12, 1992|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Staff Writer

HERSHEY, Pa. -- For the Skipjacks, it was a long time coming.

Winless against the Bears in this town since March 9, 1991, the Skipjacks nipped the Bears, 2-1, last night before 7,037 at Hersheypark Arena. The victory raised their American Hockey League record to 2-0-1.

In eight visits here last season, the Skipjacks lost seven and tied one. Their last previous victory was in the final visit of the 1990-91 season.

"It's unbelievable that we could play so well in three games like this with a largely rookie lineup," coach Barry Trotz said. "The team gave an effort that's hard to describe."

Goalie Byron Dafoe, playing his third complete game in as many nights, made 35 saves.

"He was outstanding," Trotz said. "He was the difference. When you have a tired team, you need a big effort by your goalie. Byron gave it to us. I just had a hunch he'd be hot, so we rode the wave with him."

Said Dafoe: "We knew Hershey would come out hard for its home opener. So we played the first five minutes of each period like it was overtime. That prevented them from getting much momentum."

The Skipjacks have gotten off to a strong start in an unlikely way. They overcame an 0-3 deficit to tie the Binghamton Rangers Friday night, came from 0-2 to beat Hershey, 4-2, Saturday night and then posted their first win here in more than a year.

"This is a tired team, I'll tell you," Trotz said. "The character we displayed over the weekend makes me so proud."

The Baltimore goals were scored by John Byce in the first period and Tim Taylor in the second. Taylor, who didn't play Saturday night, was one of the few Skipjacks players with fresh legs.

"Even coming into the game, we had a tired bunch of kids," Skipjacks owner Tom Ebright said. "We knew Hershey would be motivated after losing Saturday night in Baltimore and not wanting to be embarrassed in the home opener."

That, Ebright seemed to be saying, made last night's victory all the more precious.

The Skipjacks were playing their third game in as many nights. The Bears were a little fresher, having opened their season Saturday night in Baltimore.

Despite numerous power-play opportunities for both teams, the only goal of the first period was by Byce, on an assist from Taylor, 5:10 into the game. It was Byce's second goal of the season.

The Skipjacks drew six penalties to the Bears' four. Hershey out-shot the Skipjacks in the period, 17-16.

The Bears tied the score at 6:45 into the second period on a goal by Len Barrie. With 12 minutes left in the period, Taylor scored his first goal of the season to give Baltimore a 2-1 edge.

The period was marked by a fight between the Skipjacks' Trevor Halverson and the Bears' Clayton Norris. Each drew a five-minute penalty.

Later in the period, the Skipjacks' Chris Longo and Hershey's Corey Foster drew 10-minute penalties for misconduct.

The Skipjacks are idle until Friday, when they'll travel to Rochester. The game with the Americans is the opener of a three-game trip, with stops Saturday at Capital District and Sunday at Hamilton.

NOTES: The Bears last night opened their 55th home season in the AHL. . . . The Skipjacks' win over Hershey Saturday night in Baltimore ended a seven-game winless streak against the Bears that dated to Jan. 24, 1992. . . . It was the fourth straight year that Hershey lost its opening game against Baltimore.

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