HERSHEY, Pa. -- The Hershey Bears are the type of team you can't give a break.
Riddled by injuries, flu and call-ups to the Philadelphia Flyers, the Bears were a team ripe to be beaten last night before 5,875 at the Hersheypark Arena.
The Baltimore Skipjacks, however, failed to take advantage of Hershey's weaknesses. The Bears used Baltimore penalties and mistakes to their advantage in scoring a 3-1 AHL Southern Division victory.
"We were the definite underdogs coming into the game," said Hershey coach Mike Eaves. "It's nice to be able to look around this locker room and know there are guys here you can count on. We wanted to get off to a good start against Baltimore, and we did it by good execution."
Power-play goals in the first period by Dave Fenyves and Len Barrie gave Hershey a 2-0 lead, and when the Skipjacks cut the lead to a 2-1 on John Purves' second-period goal, the Bears countered with an insurance goal by Chris Jensen in the third period.
The second Hershey power-play goal came as the result of a stick-swinging incident at 5 minutes, 6 seconds of the first period between Hershey goalie Marc D'Amour and Baltimore right wing Richie Walcott. Walcott was given a five-minute slashing major and a game misconduct by referee Richard Trottier. D'Amour got a two-minute slashing minor.
"Walcott said something to me, and I told him to be quiet and play hockey," D'Amour said. "He said something back to me and then he jumped me. No, I don't think that fired up the team. I know I was afraid it would hurt my concentration, and I wanted to stay focused on the game."
D'Amour had concentration enough to make 21 saves and win his fifth game of the season.
After the game, Skipjacks coach Rob Laird followed Trottier into the officials room and shouting could be heard through the door.
"I just wanted to have Walcott's ejection clarified for me," Laird said. "We got ourselves into a big hole when Walcott left and we never got out of it. Todd Hlushko was out with the flu and after Walcott was gone we had only two lines."
The loss was only the second in the past eight games for Baltimore, which continues to lead the Southern Division. The loss also ended a three-game road winning streak in which the Skipjacks had outscored the opposition, 17-5.
The victory was also the first in four games against Baltimore for Hershey, which is tied for second in the division with Binghamton, both with 32 points.
Hershey took 41 shots at the Skipjacks goalie Olaf Kolzig who made 38 saves.
A pair of power-play goals gave Hershey, which outshot the Skipjacks, 14-4, a 2-0 lead after the first period.
Fenyves, left unguarded in the slot, beat Kolzig from between the hash marks at 4:27 for a 1-0 lead. Three minutes, 12 seconds later Barrie knocked in a rebound during a goal-mouth scramble for a 2-0 advantage.
Purves' power-play goal at 14:09 of the second period cut the Hershey lead to 2-1. Purves converted a cross-slot pass from Mark Ferner while the Skipjacks had a two-man advantage for his 17th goal of the season.