Americans hand Skipjacks 4-1 loss Baltimore misses shot at 3rd place

January 02, 1993|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Staff Writer

An opportunity beckoned, but the Skipjacks ignored it.

In an uninspired effort by both teams that was greeted by boos by the crowd at game's end, the Skipjacks lost to the Rochester Americans, 4-1, last night before 2,310 at the Baltimore Arena. It was Baltimore's fourth loss in five games.

Skipjacks coach Barry Trotz disagreed with the uninspired play assessment: "Wrong. It was very intense, with a lot of close checking. It was like a tug of war all night."

By losing, the Skipjacks squandered a chance to climb over idle Hershey into third place behind Rochester in the AHL's Southern Division. Baltimore entered the game one point behind the Bears.

The winning goal was scored midway through the second period by Jeff Sirkka, breaking a 1-1 tie. Peter Ciavaglia scored the Americans' third goal and Tony Iob the fourth.

Rochester goaltender Olaf Kolzig, named the star of the game, had 31 saves and raised his record to 11-6-0, including a 3-1-0 mark against Baltimore.

"Kolzig was the difference when it came to the goalies," Trotz said, who felt that Rochester scored a few easy goals against the Skipjacks' goalie Mike Parson. "He responded well, slapping us in the face."

The game was only 48 seconds old when Rochester's Randy Moller scored his first AHL goal of the season. Moller, sent down Thursday by the parent Buffalo Sabres, flicked a shot that struck Parson's equipment, but slipped through into the goal. Moller, 29, was the Quebec Nordiques' No. 1 draft choice in 1981.

With 1:28 left in the first period, Baltimore capitalized on a powe play and tied it at 1 on John Slaney's seventh goal of the season, assisted by John Byce and Mike Boback. It was assist No. 39 for Boback, who ranks among the top five in the AHL in that category.

Neither team played with zest in the second period. There wa only one penalty and Sirkka's goal.

Sirkka, a 24-year-old defenseman in his seventh minor-league season,sent the puck just inside the post past Parson's stick for his second goal in 18 AHL games.

NOTES: G Byron Dafoe, out since Nov. 20 with a sprained ankle is scheduled to return next weekend. "I thought about using him as a backup this weekend, maybe playing a period if we needed him," Trotz said. "But I didn't feel comfortable with that." . . . Mark Hunter missed his second straight game with a strained shoulder and Tim Taylor sat out with an injured ankle. . . . Brad Schlegel missed his seventh straight game with a sprained ankle. . . . The Skipjacks didn't have a hat trick in their first 29 games, then had three (Hunter, two; John Byce, one) in four games. . . . Ex-Skipjack Doug Shedden replaced Gary Fay as head coach of the Central Hockey League's Wichita Thunder. Shedden, a Skipjack in 1987-88, had been a player/assistant coach for the Muskegon Fury of the Colonial Hockey League. Another former Skipjack, Harry Mews (1990-91, 1991-92), announced his retirement after spending the first part of this season as a player/assistant coach with the Hampton Roads Admirals of the East Coast League. . . . Last night's game opened a five-game homestand for the Skipjacks. After a rematch with Rochester here today, Baltimore plays the Hershey Bears Friday and the New Haven Senators Saturday and Sunday. . . . In 89 AHL games the last four weeks, home teams won 61.8 percent of the time. The home team winning percentage for the season is 55.3. . . . Rochester is third in the AHL in power play efficiency, but next-to-last in penalty killing efficiency.

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