Skipjacks blow 3 leads, fall to Springfield, 6-5 Indians get winner with :43 remaining

November 01, 1992|By Ron Chimelis | Ron Chimelis,Contributing Writer

SPRINGFIELD, MASSACHUESETTS — SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- The Skipjacks led the Springfield Indians on three occasions last night, but came away empty.

Jukka Suomalainen picked up a loose clearing pass in the Skipjacks end and fired a 25-foot blast past Skipjacks goalie Duane Derksen with 43 seconds left as Springfield grabbed a 6-5 American Hockey League victory before 1,983 at the Civic Center.

Suomalainen's first goal of the season came after a clearing pass struck an official. He picked up the puck, skated from right to left and had a clear shot in front of Derksen. He didn't miss, firing a high drive. Derksen virtually no chance.

"That last goal had some bad luck," Skipjacks coach Barry Trotz said. "I don't know how many goals Suomalainen will score -- he probably won't score many -- but that was obviously a big one."

It was a heart-breaking finish for the Skipjacks, who led twice in the third period.

Trevor Stienburg slammed in a rebound after a scramble with 5:58 remaining in the third period to wipe out the Skipjacks' third lead. It was his first goal of the season.

"Our defense was taken off the puck on their fifth goal," Trotz said. "That was the biggest turning point of all.

"We thought had a chance of getting one point out of this," Trotz said, "and I felt confident we would win until their fifth goal. It wasn't a team thing, just a few individual mistakes."

The Skipjacks had taken a 5-4 lead when Reggie Savage scored his second goal of the game and fourth of the season at 8:58 of the third period. Savage scored after Springfield goalie Corrie D'Alessio had stopped a shot by John Byce, who was trying for a hat trick. His second goal had given the Skipjacks a 4-3 lead at 3:21 of the third period.

Springfield scored two power-play goals in the first period, and the Skipjacks scored two in the second. It was 3-3 after two periods, and thegame's seesaw nature continued in the third period.

Byce was parked outside the crease to the right of D'Alessio and slapped home a centering pass from Savage for the 4-3 lead.

But Chris Govedaris' goal at 6:09 created the fourth tie of the game.

Springfield led, 2-1, after the first period. But a five-minute high-sticking major by Springfield's Mike McHugh led to two Skipjacks goals just more than three minutes apart.

Byce and Darren McAusland converted McHugh's mistake into a two-goal swing. McHugh went off for high-sticking Chris Longo -- and was also assessed a game misconduct -- at 4:09 of the second period.

Just six seconds later, Byce scored his fifth goal with Mike Boback picking up his second of three assists of the game.

Springfield was still a man down because of the major penalty, when McAusland deposited a rebound from the left circle at 7:23 for a 3-2 Skipjacks lead. Springfield tied it at 12:36 when Leonid Toropchenko scored his seventh goal on assists from Joe Day and Todd Richards.

Brian Chapman's fifth goal of the season came at 7:26, just 29 seconds after the Skipjacks had been assessed a bench minor for too many men on the ice. It was the first of two power-play goals in three first-period chances for the Indians.

The other came at 15:59, when Day scored while the Skipjacks' (( Trevor Halverson was serving a tripping penalty.

The Skipjacks responded 58 seconds later on Savage's third goal of the season.

The Skipjacks stay in New England for tonight's 7:05 game in Providence, R.I.

Skipjacks 1 2 2 -- 5

Springfield 2 1 3 -- 6

Skipjacks tonight

+ Opponent: Providence Bruins

Site: Providence (R.I.) Civic Center

Time: 7:05

Outlook: The Bruins are in a new town with, they say, a renewed spirit. The parent Boston Bruins moved their top farm club from Portland, Maine, to Providence, where they are coached by Mike O'Connell, a former Boston assistant. After allowing a league-high 352 goals last season, the Bruins have strengthened their blue line with the addition of some established defensemen. They could be the most improved team in the AHL.

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