Steve Seftel scored the winning goal for the second game in a row, and goalie Jim Hrivnak was like a wall, as the Baltimore Skipjacks beat the first-place Rochester Americans, 3-2, before 7,594 at the Baltimore Arena last night.
Seftel's goal, with 1 minute, 34 seconds remaining, came during a scramble in front of the net and gave Baltimore a 3-1 lead. It negated a goal by Rochester's Jody Gage with nine seconds left.
Tuesday night, Seftel beat the Hershey Bears, 4-3, with a goal 1:23 into overtime.
"All I did was get in front of the goal and try to create some traffic," Seftel said of his 17th goal. Alfie [Turcotte] took a shot and the rebound came out in front, and all I did was jam it in the goal."
"A Baltimore player charged into the crease, and his momentum carried him into me and knocked me on my rump," Rochester goalie Scott Luce said. "The puck was to my right and just out of my reach. Seftel put it under my pads."
Turcotte and Thomas Sjogren were the other offensive stars for the Skipjacks. Turcotte scored a goal and assisted on two others, and Sjogren scored a goal and assisted on another.
The second-place Skipjacks moved within five points of Rochester in the American Hockey League's Southern Division.
"If we had lost, we would have been in deep trouble," Turcotte said. "Now we're back in the chase for first place. Hrivnak played a big game. We only scored three goals, but with the way he played, three were enough to win."
Hrivnak won his 13th game, making 33 saves, including several point-blank.
"Hrivnak was the star of the game," Skipjacks coach Rob Laird said. "He was outstanding against the best team in the AHL at this time."
Hrivnak said: "We played a solid game in our zone. The defense, led by Mark Ferner, was outstanding."
Steve Ludzik scored on a deflection during a power play for Rochester's first goal.
"I'm happy with the win, but we are going to have to play better if we are going to beat out Rochester," Laird said. "Rochester is a very good team with five or six skilled guys at the blue line. They don't make many mistakes, and they keep coming at you the entire game. But I know we're going to get stronger as the season goes along. We have a lot of people out with injuries now, and they are going to get better."
NOTES: Dave Starman did the Skipjacks radio play-by-play, and will also do tonight's game in Springfield, Mass., and tomorrow's game against Hershey at the Baltimore Arena. Starman is subbing for announcer Kenny Albert, who is in New York for his grandmother's funeral. . . . Rochester will play in Hershey, Pa., tonight against the Bears on Mike Nykoluk Night. Nykoluk will be the first player in the 53-year history of the Hershey franchise to have his sweater retired. He is Hershey's all-time scoring leader, with 808 points in 14 seasons. He also played two seasons for Rochester and scored 73 points. . . . The Skipjacks played with only nine forwards because of recalls and injuries.
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