Derksen can't save Skipjacks Stops 45 shots, but Leafs win, 4-1

April 03, 1993|By Brendan McCarthy | Brendan McCarthy,Contributing Writer

CORNWALL, Ontario -- The Skipjacks lost, 4-1, to the St. John's Maple Leafs last night, but don't fault the goaltending of Duane Derksen.

Derksen stopped 45 of 49 shots as the Leafs went on an offensive binge to clinch first place in the American Hockey League's Atlantic Division.

The rookie goaltender from the University of Wisconsin had struggled earlier in the season, but he has given the Skipjacks and coach Barry Trotz quality starts in goal, including a 35-save performance in a 3-2 win over the Fredericton Canadiens earlier in the week.

"The Capitals have just hired a goaltending coach, Keith Allain, and he's helped Duane and Byron [Dafoe], especially with their mental approach to the game," Trotz said.

"Neither Paul [Gardner, assistant coach] nor I have ever played goal, so it makes a tremendous difference to have Keith there, because he was a netminder."

The Leafs dominated the first period, firing 17 shots at Derksen, but were frustrated until Dave Tomlinson slapped home a rebound of Jeff Serowik's slap shot.

Both teams scored power-play goals in the second period.

First, the Leafs' Yanic Perreault sent a laser-beam of a shot into the top left-hand corner of the Baltimore net for his 47th goal and 19th power-play goal of the season.

Baltimore, however, quickly responded with a man-advantage goal by Trevor Halverson, who had the winning goal Thursday when the Skipjacks beat the Leafs, 4-3.

St. John's put the game away in the third when Perreault scored his second, followed by Kevin McClelland's tally.

Baltimore (27-37-12) remains five points ahead of the Hershey Bears in the battle for the fourth and final playoff spot in the AHL's Southern Division.

Despite the loss, Trotz had praise for his team, which is 3-3-0 in its trip through Canada, which concludes tomorrow in Moncton.

"This time last season, there was a terrible attitude on this team," Trotz said. "We had a lot of players who didn't belong in this league.

"This year, at the same point in the season, we're coming through in the clutch. We had injuries down the stretch last year, but we've had some lately as well.

"We've actually gotten stronger on this road trip," Trotz added. "That's not usually the way it is, but with veterans like Randy Burridge and Mark Hunter with us, both the confidence and enthusiasm level is way up there."

NOTES: Wing Terry Chitaroni, who is on loan from the Leafs to Baltimore, played for the Skipjacks last night. Chitaroni had missed Thursday's opening game of the series with a groin pull. . . . Chitaroni replaced Burridge, who played his first game in 11 months in Baltimore's 4-3 win over St. John's Thursday. A sore knee sidelined Burridge, but Hunter, coming off a broken thumb, did play.

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