Skipjacks refuse to exit playoffs, top Rangers, 6-2 Game 7 tomorrow in Binghamton

April 29, 1993|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Staff Writer

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- OK, John Byce was right. The odds were against the Skipjacks. They still are.

But for the third time in the AHL Southern Division first-round playoffs, the Skipjacks defied the odds last night. They defeated the favored Binghamton Rangers, 6-2, before 3,032 at Broome County Arena to even the series at three games apiece.

The seventh and final game will be played here tomorrow night.

When the Skipjacks arrived here yesterday for Game 6, Byce acknowledged that the odds were against his team.

"Coming in here and winning two, well, the odds are really against us. They've only lost six games here all year."

Binghamton has been virtually invincible at home, losing only five of 40 games during the regular season. The Skipjacks' victory in the series opener was loss No. 6 and last night's was No. 7.

"We handled them exactly the way we wanted to," Byce said after the game. "We took it to them. We're playing a tight-checking game. We've got all the confidence in the world."

The Skipjacks took a 3-2 lead on Byce's goal with 5:27 left in the second period and never relinquished the advantage. Mike Boback, Eric Murano, with his second goal of the game, and Trevor Halverson added late goals to seal the decision.

During the regular season, the Rangers beat the Skipjacks 10 times.

"We've got them on edge," Boback said of the Rangers, who won an AHL-record 57 games during the regular season. "They don't know which way to turn. They can't get into their game."

Murano began Baltimore's attack with a 1-0 lead 7:47 into the game when he tipped in a long shot by Brad Schlegel. Murano entered the game as the series' leading scorer with nine points, including five goals. He was the only player on either team with at least one point in each of the five games.

Less that two minutes later, Binghamton tied it on Dave Thomlinson's shot. Jeff Greenlaw sent the Skipjacks into the lead again with his third goal of the series only to have Alexei Kovalev tie it at 2 with 3:08 left in the first period.

Byce broke the tie with a power-play goal 14:33 into the second period and the score remained at 3-2 until intermission.

Skipjacks coach Barry Trotz pulled a slight surprise by starting Byron Dafoe over Duane Derksen in the goal. Derksen had a 3-1 win and a loss in overtime in the last two games. He had replaced Dafoe after the second period in Game 3 when the Skipjacks were en route to an 8-3 mauling by Binghamton.

NOTES: LW Halverson made his first appearance in the playoffs after recovering from a hip injury . . . D Jim Mathieson missed the game with a concussion sustained in the fourth game when Binghamton's Kovalev hit him from behind and drew a boarding penalty. . . . Martin Jiranek played last night despite an attack of the flu. . . . Binghamton's Don Biggs, the AHL's scoring champion with 138 points, was held to five points (one goal and four assists) in the first five games of the playoffs. "The team did a good job of containing him," Trotz said. "It wasn't that we made a conscious effort to stop Biggs, but that our team system tended to reduce his effectiveness."

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