Nighthawks rally to tie Skipjacks 3rd-period goals give New Haven 3-3 tie


NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- At this point in their season, the Baltimore Skipjacks would be the first to admit that one point is better than none -- especially on the road.

But the Skipjacks couldn't be blamed for wondering what would have been last night had the New Haven Nighthawks not scored twice within 31 seconds of the third period to tie Baltimore, 3-3, before 5,549 at the Coliseum.

The point extended to three Baltimore's lead over the Adirondack Red Wings for third place in the Southern Division; the Skipjacks are 36-32-7 this season. New Haven's winless streak was extended to 10 (0-8-2), two short of the franchise record of 12 (0-10-2) set during the 1973-74 season.

The Nighthawks trailed by 3-1 heading into the third period. But their hustle ultimately produced two goals by Graham Stanley, assisted by Jerome Bechard, within 31 seconds of each other.

"We turned the puck over in our zone," said Rob Laird, Baltimore's coach. "We didn't handle the pressure very well. We knew when a team gets a goal it provided a spark. We knew the very next shift was so important. We could have reacted better."

"Some of the young kids really crashed tonight," said Pat Hickey, New Haven's associate coach and general manager. "I was impressed."

Stanley's sixth and seventh goals of the season came at 11:31 and 12:02 of the third against goalie Jim Hrivnak (36 saves) to force overtime.

"Jerome and Shawn [McCosh] did some good forechecking to pop the puck loose for me," said Stanley.

Of course, the Nighthawks (23-41-10) no longer are in playoff contention. They were eliminated from the Northern Division race in absentia last weekend -- for the second straight season -- while enjoying a week off.

It didn't take long for the Skipjacks to assert themselves -- and Nighthawks goalie Ron Scott understood that better than most after absorbing 19 shots in the first period. Scott, a saving grace all season, ended the night with 40 saves.

"Every time I see him he plays great," Laird said.

New Haven's Steve Rooney picked up a tripping penalty 46 seconds into the game and at 1:15 the Skipjacks had the first of two goals in the opening period.

Defenseman Kent Paynter made the play by sending a wrist shot that Tyler Larter redirected under Scott for his 21st goal of the season. At 10:40, Baltimore made it 2-0 when left winger Bob Joyce put in his eighth goal of the season over Scott from in close.

The Nighthawks began to make up for their first-period problems by using the body a bit more in the second. The result was a noticeable change in momentum that turned Hrivnak into the focal point. New Haven swarmed the net until forward Scott Harlow scored his 25th goal from up close at 7:49 to tighten things up at 2-1.

But at 14:44 veteran defenseman Joel Quenneville blasted a shot through Scott's pads from a couple of strides inside the blue line to increase Baltimore's lead to 3-1. It was Quenneville's sixth goal of the season.

NOTES: The Los Angeles Kings recalled New Haven's Jim Thomson last night. He'll join the team in Edmonton.

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