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Bears rally past Skipjacks, 5-4, with late short-handed goals


The Baltimore Skipjacks' losing streak is beginning to get monotonous. No matter how well they play, the losses keep piling up.

Last night, before 4,633 at the Baltimore Arena, the Hershey Bears scored two short-handed goals in the third period to pull out a 5-4 AHL Southern Division victory.

The loss was the seventh in the row for the Skipjacks, whose winless streak ballooned to nine (0-8-1). The loss kept Baltimore in last place in the division.

The win was the third in a row for Hershey, 6-3-0 in its past nine games. The Bears lead the series with Baltimore, 6-3-2.

Simon Wheeldon scored twice for Baltimore, and Craig Duncanson and Jiri Vykoukal had single goals. Hershey, which scored three short-handed goals and a power-play goal, received two goals from Martin Hostak and single ones from Tim Tookey, Jamie Cooke and Wes Walz.

"Two of the short-handed goals came as a result of their [Skipjacks] defensemen losing the puck," said Tookey, who once played for Baltimore. "We got the bounces, which was good for us and bad for them. On my short-handed goal, [Mark] Ferner knocked the puck down with his glove and the puck bounced right to me. I just walked in all alone."

Tookey, who also had an assist, went over the 700-point mark for his AHL career.

Hershey's second short-handed goal of the game tied the score at 2 minutes, 54 seconds of the third period at 4. Walz scored from close range on goalie Byron Dafoe after out-muscling a Skipjacks defender in the right circle.

Hostak's unassisted, short-handed goal off a bad pass in the Baltimore zone by Duncanson, put the Bears into a 5-4 lead with 4:22 remaining.

"We know exactly what to do against Baltimore's power play," said Hostak. "Bill Armstrong put pressure on Duncanson in the right circle and he coughed up the puck. It came right to me and I just took off down ice. Dafoe never had a chance."

"Our power play worked against us [0 for 7 and three short-handed goals]," said Skipjacks coach Rob Laird. "The short-handed goals were the difference. When we play at home we try to make things happen. We could have been a little over-anxious on the power play and it cost us.

"We haven't stopped trying and that's a plus. We outworked Hershey. . . . and capitalized on their chances. Losing like this is like being stabbed in the heart."

Bears coach Mike Eaves said: "You can't count on short-handed goals. They are bonuses. We just made it happen tonight."

NOTES: Dafoe rejoined the Skipjacks last night from the New Haven Nighthawks, where he was on loan.

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