Binghamton puts big egg on Skipjacks

The Skipjacks gave up two first-period goals, by Rick Bennett and Shaun Sabol, and the Binghamton Rangers' defense, anchored by goalie Mark Laforest, racked up a shutout, 3-0, before 3,187 at the Arena last night.

The Skipjacks looked as if they still hadn't recovered from Saturday's heartbreaking, 6-5 road loss to the Hershey Bears, who rallied for four third-period goals.


The second loss in a row kept the Skipjacks from taking undisputed possession of first place in the AHL's Southern Division. The loss also ended a three-game home winning streak for Baltimore.

The win boosted Binghamton into first place in the Southern Division past the Skipjacks and the idle Utica Devils.


Laforest (15-7-1) recorded his first shutout of the season, making 21 saves.

"The first shutout is nice," said Laforest. "Our defense played well. They let me see the puck and cleared out the rebounds."

The shutout was the second of the season against the Skipjacks, who lost to the Maine Mariners, 3-0, Oct. 18, also at the Arena.

"That was a very big win for us," said Rangers coach Ron Smith. "It put us in first place, and we have played four games less than the rest of the teams. We had an edge because Baltimore was playing its third game in three nights and we were sitting here in our hotel getting a lot of rest. We took advantage of it.

"Laforest played well. He made about 10 big stops in the second and third periods, and our defense played well."

Binghamton added an empty-net goal by Daniel Lacroix with 40 seconds remaining.

"The fatigue factor was definitely there," said Skipjacks coach Rob Laird. "Binghamton played a solid game, checked well and did the right things on defense. Once Binghamton gets the lead, they're very tough to catch."

Binghamton outshot the Skipjacks, 14-5, and outscored them, 2-0, in the first period.


NOTES: Last night was RW Tim Bergland's last game on his 2-week conditioning assignment by Washington. . . . Binghamton has the best power play in the AHL, 25.23 percent. . . . The Skipjacks are ninth at 19.77 percent. . . . The Skipjacks last night scratched RW Steve Martell and C Tim Taylor, RW Steve Seftel (knee) and D Bobby Babcock (wrist). . . . The Rangers scratched D John Mokosak, LW Mike Stevens and LW Joe Paterson. . . . GM David Poile and coach Terry Murray of the Capitals, along with Rick Paterson, an assistant coach for Pittsburgh, were in the press box last night.