Springfield pulls away from Skipjacks, 5-3


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Showing the effects of an all-night bus trip, the Baltimore Skipjacks were defeated, 5-3, by the Springfield Indians last night before 4,479 at the Springfield Civic Center.

Jim Mathieson had a goal and an assist, as did Thomas Sjogren for the Skipjacks, who fell to 30-23-3 despite outshooting the Indians by 31-27. The Skipjacks remained five points behind the first-place Rochester Americans in the American Hockey League's Southern Division. Rochester lost to the Hersey Bears, 4-2.

Joe Day, who has five game-winners among his 14 goals, had a goal and two assists for Springfield (30-20-7), which took a seven-point lead in the Northern Division. That is the Indians' largest of the season.

This is a tiring part of the schedule, but we can't use that as a bailout," Skipjacks coach Rob Laird said. "Other teams are in the same boat, but we're a sharper team than that."

The Skipjacks scored on the first shot on goaltender Ross McKay, the second consecutive game that Springfield gave up a goal on the first shot.

Steve Maltais gave Baltimore a 1-0 lead at 5:33 with his 30th goal of the season. Indians right wing Mark Greig lost the puck to Thomas Sjogren in the Springfield end. He got it to Maltais, who sent one off McKay's arm and into the net.

James Black, the Indians' leading scorer, got that back at 11:11, making a quick shot off a faceoff in the Skipjacks' end that caught goaltender Jim Hrivnak off guard. Black won the draw and put in a 25-footer to make it 1-1.

scored the first goal and then they scored a freakish goal," Laird said. "That seemed to deflate us and give them momentum."

Greig's 25th goal of the season gave Springfield the lead at 13:30. Terry Yake set up Greig as he crossed the blue line, and he shot from the top of the face-off circle.

Blair Atcheynum gave Springfield a 3-1 lead with 3:23 remaining in the first period with his 16th goal. Yvon Corriveau, a former Skipjack, took a back-hander from the slot and Atcheynum redirected the shot past Hrivnak at 16:37.

Hrivnak stopped eight shots in a scoreless second period, robbing Chris Tancill twice from short range. Baltimore defenseman Joel Quenneville, who was to be sent to Springfield before being traded to Washington at the start of the season, broke up a two-on-one with Tancill and Black.

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