Skipjacks bounce back, top Rangers to tie series

April 25, 1993|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Staff Writer

The Skipjacks' AHL playoff series with the Rangers is going back to Binghamton after all.

It started there, and the Skipjacks won the opener. But they lost the next two, including Friday night by a five-goal margin, creating the notion the Rangers would win four straight and wrap up the series in Game 5 tomorrow night at the Baltimore Arena.

Not so fast. Barely resembling the team that lost the night before, the Skipjacks stunned the Rangers, 3-1, last night before 1,458 at the Arena.

With the best-of-seven series tied at two wins apiece, the teams will continue in Binghamton on Wednesday after tomorrow night's game.

The Skipjacks had lost four straight at home. Their last victory was March 20 over the Rochester Americans.

Duane Derksen, the Skipjacks' backup goalie, started the game. Derksen played the final period Friday night in relief of a harried Byron Dafoe, who departed with Baltimore trailing, 7-1.

Last night, Derksen had a shutout until Per Djoos' goal with 2:53 left in the second period. Facing a team that had scored an AHL-record 392 goals -- an average of almost five a game -- the rookie out of the University of Wisconsin had 25 saves.

When the game ended, the Skipjacks raced onto the ice and pummeled Derksen in glee.

Derksen almost had a goal in the final minute when the Rangers lifted their goalie, Corey Hirsch, and and used a sixth attacker, leaving an empty net. Derksen's's length-of-the-ice shot missed by a few feet.

It was only the Skipjacks' second win in 14 games against Binghamton this season and their first at the Arena.

Eric Murano, who has paced the Skipjacks throughout the playoffs, provided a 1-0 edge midway through the first period. It was his fifth goal in four games in the Binghamton series.

Mike Boback, one of the team's scoring leaders who returned Friday night after missing four games with a pinched nerve in his back, made it 2-0 with 1:28 left in the period. Murano got an assist on the play, his third of the playoffs.

With four minutes left in the second period and the Skipjacks still leading, 2-0, Hirsch made a brilliant save on a shot by Mark Hunter, who was all alone in front of the net. A minute later, Djoos scored Binghamton's lone goal.

Baltimore came back 1:19 later to make it 3-1. It was Hunter again, on a power play, and this time Hirsch couldn't stop him.

Skipjacks coach Barry Trotz said he was so angry after Friday night's 8-3 loss to the Rangers that he couldn't stand the sight of watching it on film that evening. He waited until yesterday morning to study it. "It didn't get any better," Trotz said. "The effort wasn't there and we didn't win a one-on-one battle all night."

Trotz held a 40-minute meeting before last night's game -- more than twice as long as normal -- to discuss "subtle changes" in the team's approach to combating the Rangers and to try to improve the team's industriousness.

"No one was happy with the way we played Friday night," Trotz

said. "They're all pros, and pros have pride."

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