Byce's goal late in 3rd lifts Jacks to 7-6 win over Bears

December 30, 1992|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Staff Writer

John Byce couldn't have regained the Skipjacks' scoring lead in much more dramatic fashion.

With a backhand flick of his stick, Byce jammed in his 22nd goal of the season with 2:20 remaining to give the Skipjacks a 7-6 victory over the Hershey Bears last night before 2,651 at the Baltimore Arena.

Byce entered the game with a one-goal edge over Reggie Savage. After Savage tied him with his 20th, Byce scored his 21st only to have Savage match him again.

Byce's 22nd broke a 6-6 tie, the fifth deadlock of the evening. Trevor Halverson, recalled from the Hampton Roads Admirals Monday, had created the 6-6 tie with 6:50 left.

The victory lifted Baltimore back into a tie with Hershey for third place in the AHL's Southern Division.

"They were up 2-0 and we battled back and then they were up again and we battled back," Skipjacks coach Barry Trotz said. "We battled back one final time [from a 6-5 deficit] to win. After blowing leads in our previous two games, this was a good character victory to win this way."

The Skipjacks were particularly productive on the power play, converting five of nine opportunities, including Byce's game-winner.

Byce, Savage and Hershey's Wes Walz each scored twice. Walz, who scored two in the Bears' 5-3 win over the Skipjacks Saturday in Hershey, knocked in his team's last goal for a 6-5 lead with nine minutes left.

Baltimore extended its edge to 5-3-0 in the season's rivalry, including a 4-0 record here. The Bears' record on the road is an abysmal 2-15-2.

"Good teams find a way to win on the road," Walz said, declining to voice the obvious conclusion.

Belying a horrid record of two wins in their first 18 away games, the Bears jumped to a 2-0 lead on goals by Pat Murray and Chris Jensen.

The Skipjacks bounced back with a pair of power-play goals. Savage and Ken Klee scored within 60 seconds to tie it with 1:43 left in the first period. It was Savage's 20th goal of the season.

Savage added his 21st in the second period, for a 5-4 Baltimore lead, after teammate Byce had tallied his 21st to give the Skipjacks a 4-3 margin.

Walz, who scored the last two goals in Hershey's 5-3 win #F Saturday night, gave the Bears a 3-2 edge to open the second period. Baltimore's Darren McAusland tied it at 3, Byce made it 4-3 and Eric Dandenault knotted it at 4 before Savage scored his 21st.

NOTES: The Skipjacks changed the time of their Jan. 17 game against the St. John's Maple Leafs from 7 p.m. to 1 p.m. with the hope of having it carried by a Baltimore TV station. . . . A flurry of player moves left coach Barry Trotz reasonably satisfied with what the Skipjacks got. The parent Washington Capitals recalled Jason Woolley and sent Shawn Anderson in his place. The Skipjacks then shipped Jiri Vykoukal and Randy Pearce to the Hampton Roads Admirals and recalled Bob Babcock and Trevor Halverson from Hampton. "Losing Jason hurts us on the power play; he's a gifted, one-dimensional player," Trotz said. "But Andy was terrific for us early in the season and he's a more rounded player who can help in several areas. It was a good trade-off. We expect physical play, strength and pressure from [the 222-pound] Babcock. Trevor [195 pounds] is the same -- big, strong, goes to the net hard with touch as well as toughness." . . . . Last night's game featured the two most recent AHL Players of the Week -- Hershey G Yanick DeGrace, who won two games and allowed only four goals, and Baltimore's Mark Hunter, who scored two hat tricks the previous week. . . . Injured Skipjacks -- Brad Schlegel (sprained ankle) and Jeff Greenlaw (strained abdominal muscle). . . . The Skipjacks play the Utica Devils on the road tomorrow night and return to entertain the Rochester Americans in games Friday and Saturday.

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