BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- The Skipjacks' playoff series against the Binghamton Rangers quickly reverted to form.
After swiping the opener of the American Hockey League's best-of-seven, first-round series from the top-seeded Rangers, the No. 4 Skipjacks bowed, 6-2, last night before 4,003 fans at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.
The series, tied at 1-1, switches to Baltimore for the next three games, starting Friday.
The second period was only 3:25 old when Binghamton had a 5-0 lead. That was in keeping with the way the Rangers had handled Baltimore all season.
Until Friday's upset -- only the Rangers' sixth home defeat of the season -- the Skipjacks were winless in 10 games against Binghamton, which set AHL records for wins and goals this season, and during one stretch won 17 straight at home.
Steven King and Mike Stevens each scored two goals for Binghamton. Eric Murano and Jeff Greenlaw accounted for the Skipjacks' scores.
King, who spent 24 games with the New York Rangers this season, provided Binghamton with a 2-0 first-period lead, and goalie Corey Hirsch stopped five Skipjacks shots.
Binghamton raised its lead to 5-0 with three goals -- one each by Stevens, Chris Cichocki and Joby Messier -- in the first 3:25 of the second period. At that point, Baltimore coach Barry Trotz yanked goalie Byron Dafoe for Duane Derksen.
The period included two ejections, Baltimore's Jim Mathieson for fighting and Cichocki for high sticking. Greenlaw gave the Skipjacks their first goal 7:30 into the period.
Stevens increased Binghamton's bulge to 6-1 before the second period was over.
Before the game, Trotz said the Skipjacks would use the same game plan against Binghamton during the rest of the playoffs that worked against the high-scoring AHL regular-season champions Friday night.
Slow the pace. Keep the pressure on. Keep their special teams off the ice as much as possible.
"We want them to have to adjust," Trotz said. "Once they do, we'll re-adjust. If we can discourage their team play, they'll become more individualistic, which could mean success for us. This is a game plan not just for one night, but for the whole series."
Binghamton coach Colin Campbell's comment on Baltimore's plan: "They played well and worked hard in a department that any team is capable of -- the work department."
NOTES: Baltimore defensemen Ken Klee and Rob Leask were hurt Friday night but played last night anyway. Klee caught a slap shot off his foot and played with a shield on it. Leask has a sore hamstring. Mathieson, who recovered from a hip injury only to miss the opener with tonsillitis, returned to action last night. . . . Binghamton's edge in playoff experience, AHL or NHL, is overwhelming. Entering this series, the Rangers had scored 218 points in playoffs to the Skipjacks' 64. Eliminate the 39 points of Baltimore's Mark Hunter, all collected in NHL playoffs, and the Rangers' advantage is 218 to 25. . . . The Skipjacks-Rangers playoff games at the Baltimore Arena are Friday and Saturday, both 8 p.m., and April 26 at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $8 to $14. Call 481-SEAT.