The Halifax Citadels spoiled Baltimore's chance to gain ground in the American Hockey League's Southern Division by beating the Skipjacks, 5-4, at the Baltimore Arena last night.
Meanwhile, goalie Grant Fuhr, playing his first game since being reinstated from a year's drug suspension, helped the Cape Breton Oilers to a 5-3 victory over the first-place Rochester Americans. A Skipjacks victory would have cut the Americans' lead to three points.
Fuhr is eligible to rejoin the Edmonton Oilers, Cape Breton's parent team, Monday.
"We missed an excellent opportunity to pick up some ground on Rochester," Skipjacks coach Rob Laird said. "Our three lines just weren't clicking. Alfie Turcotte's line played well, but we didn't get any production from our other lines. The intensity wasn't there. We didn't come up big when we had to."
Bruce Major and Marc Fortier scored two goals each for Halifax, which has won all three games from Baltimore this season. Major, acquired from the Fort Wayne Komets of the International League yesterday, gave Halifax a 4-3 lead at 6 minutes, 13 seconds of the third period, and Fortier's goal 58 seconds later was the game-winner.
Scott Gordon, a former Skipjacks goalie who was sent to Halifax by the Quebec Nordiques yesterday, made 32 saves, as Baltimore outshot the Citadels, 36-19.
"Gordon played very well, but we didn't take advantage of ouopportunities," Laird said.
"I think that's the best game I ever had in this building," Gordon said. "I know I didn't win many games the year I was here. I saw the puck well, and my defense did a great job of clearing out the rebounds."
Turcotte scored three goals for Baltimore and handed out an assist, and Mark Ferner had three assists. Thomas Sjogren also scored for the Skipjacks.
"We didn't play our game," Turcotte said. "It was a very passive game and we weren't very aggressive. We had so many opportunities, and Halifax got only six or seven quality chances and scored five goals. It was frustrating."
Turcotte, completing his hat trick, scored his second power play goal of the game and his 25th goal of the season to cut the difference to 5-4 at 12:50 of the third period.
Laird pulled goalie Olaf Kolzig with 52 seconds remaining to get an extra attacker on the ice, but despite several excellent chances, the Skipjacks could not get the equalizer.
After the game, Kolzig was returned to the Hampton Roads Admirals of the East Coast Hockey League.
Halifax 1 2 2 -- 5
Baltimore 2 1 1 4
First period--1. Baltimore, Turcotte 23 (Sjogren, Joyce), 10:30; 2. Halifax, Doyon 11 (Baker), 10:36; 3. Baltimore, Sjogren 26 (Ferner, Turcotte), pp, 15:02. Penalties--Richard, Hal (roughing), 11:08; Murray, Bal (roughing), 11:08; Bzdel, Hal (cross-checking), Second period--4. Halifax, Fortier 12 (Bzdel, Redshaw), 3:08; 5. Halifax, Major 1 (Dore), 11:51; 6. Baltimore, Turcotte 24 (Lovsin, Ferner), pp, 14:15. Penalties--Lambert, Hal (tripping), 12:59; Smyth, Hal (roughing), 13:50; Murray, Bal (holding), 16:53; Lovsin, Bal (tripping), 19:20.
Third period--7. Halifax, Major 2 (McRae, Doyon), 6:13; 8. Halifax, Fortier 13 (Roberge, Redshaw), 7:11; 9. Baltimore, Turcotte 25 (Seftel, Ferner), pp, 12:50. Penalties--Fortier, Hal (hooking), 12:39.