Dafoe gives Skipjacks 1st shutout

February 22, 1993|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Staff Writer

Skipjacks coach Barry Trotz started Byron Dafoe in goal on a hunch. It was a dandy.

Dafoe, 22, posted the Skipjacks' first shutout this season, making 26 saves in a 3-0 victory over the Halifax Citadels last night at the Baltimore Arena. The Skipjacks had lost two straight and Halifax was unbeaten in its past four.

Dafoe had come on in relief of Duane Derksen on Friday night in the first period against Fredericton and allowed only one goal, leading Trotz to start him last night.

"Maybe he can build on that," Trotz said before the game.

Build on it Dafoe did. In a pro career that began in 1988, Dafoe had only two other shutouts, for Portland of the Western Hockey League in 1988 and last season for the Hampton Roads Admirals of the East Coast Hockey League.

"The momentum from the shutout in the third period Friday carried over and lasted the entire game," Dafoe said. "I was more concerned about getting the win. It was 2-0 until the last minute. The shutout was just a bonus.

"I've gone into the last two games more relaxed, determined not to let even a goal bother me, telling myself, 'Well, it won't happen again.' That has helped my play. I was putting too much pressure on myself."

Skipjacks assistant coach Paul Gardner saw a different Dafoe than the one he had been watching in recent weeks.

"He came out of the net and challenged the shooters better," Gardner said. "Getting through the first period gave him confidence."

Olaf Kolzig was the last Skipjacks goalie to record a shutout, against the Capital District Islanders here last March 28. Kolzig, now on loan to the Rochester Americans, had 26 saves. It was the Skipjacks' only shutout of the season.

The official attendance last night was 1,832. Fans with tickets stayed away in droves because of the snow, however, and actual attendance was 583.

John Byce, the Skipjacks' leading scorer with 62 points, suffered a sprained shoulder in the second period and did not return. He is doubtful for Wednesday's game against the Hershey Bears.

The first period was scoreless and uneventful in other respects as well.

Halifax had 12 shots on goal to the Skipjacks' eight. There were three penalties, two for unsportsmanlike conduct against the Citadels' Martin Simard and Baltimore's Rob Leask.

Baltimore's Mike Boback scored the game's first goal 1:22 into the second period. Boback, who has played the past two games despite a torn knee ligament, tapped in a loose puck after Halifax goalie Paul Krake blocked Byce's shot.

Byce, who got an assist on the play, is the Skipjacks' points leader, followed by Boback.

Capitalizing on a five-on-three advantage, the Skipjacks made it 2-0 with 1:01 left in the period on Darren McAusland's goal. Boback picked up an assist, his 46th of the season.

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