Nighthawks again stop Skipjacks, 5-3


NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The anxiety attack continued for the Skipjacks last night.

In need of a few lucky breaks to break out of their three-week tailspin, all the Skipjacks got was another excuse to feel sorry for themselves. This time, Baltimore outshot the New Haven Nighthawks 41-19 but lost, 5-3, before 4,682 at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

"Right now, we're a team that has to overcome everything," said Baltimore coach Rob Laird. "We have to fight off bad calls, bad bounces and hot goaltenders."

Last night, the hot goalie was New Haven's George Maneluk. He made 38 saves -- the exclamation point a glove stop of John Purves from dead-on in the final three minutes.

"You have to be very wary of Baltimore," said Maneluk. "They have a lot of experienced players who can score."

They'll have to score a lot more to help the Skipjacks. This was their second defeat in the past three nights here, and was their 10th in their past 11 (1-10-0) games.

The loss also keeps the team (23-29-6) stagnant for another night in its struggle to make up ground on the fourth-place Utica Devils in the Southern Division.

The Skipjacks' road trip continues tonight in Hershey, Pa., and tomorrow in Binghamton, N.Y.

It was a steady struggle for the Skipjacks. They fell behind 3-1 with less than three minutes to play in the second period.

Craig Duncanson, Baltimore's captain, tried his best to bring his team back. He scored the first of his two goals on a power play at 19:27 of the second period. Duncanson has 20 goals.

New Haven defenseman Oleg Mikoulchik uncorked a low power-play blast to beat goalie Byron Dafoe at 3:26 of the third, three minutes into a double-minor penalty for high-sticking on Skipjacks defenseman Jim Mathieson.

But Duncanson scored again, this time off a Mathieson pass at 4:33. That was it. John Anderson's empty-net goal -- his 34th goal of the season -- at 19:28 finished the scoring for New Haven.

Unlike the first period of Wednesday's night's 7-4 loss to the Nighthawks -- in which Baltimore scored twice within the first 5:31 -- the Skipjacks didn't have the advantage of a quick start.

It wasn't because of a lack of effort, however. The Skipjacks pounded 15 shots at Nighthawks goalie Maneluk (38 saves). They even had two power plays to work on. But the first period ended scoreless.

"I felt good all night long about this game," said Laird. "I felt we were the better team."

Getting 15 shots on goal was a big enough accomplishment considering the four power plays Baltimore had to kill. But the Skipjacks did kill them off, limiting New Haven to only seven shots on Dafoe (14 saves) in the process.

Baltimore 0 2 1 -- 3

New Haven 0 3 2 -- 5

First period: no scoring. Penalties: NH, Doyon (cross check), :25; B, Hughes (boarding), 1:15; B: Sabourin (roughing), 5:06; B, Greenlaw (unsportsmanlike conduct), 10:56; B, Greenlaw (fighting), 13:17; NH, Haas (fighting), 13:17; NH, Doyon (hooking), 14:42; B, Savage (interference), 17:46.

Second period: 1, NH, Willett 17 (Drulia, Anderson), 2:00; 2, B, Wheeldon 32 (Halverson, Reynolds), 2:59; 3, NH, Hulst 14 (Kovalev, Baseggio), 5:59, ppg; 4, Latta 14 (Bechard, Noren), 17:05; 5, B, Duncanson 19 (Wheeldon, Vykoukal), 19:27, ppg. Penalties: B, Duncanson (high sticking), 5:28; B, Babock (roughing), 12:49; NH, Bechard (roughing), 17:32.

Third period: 6, NH, Oleg Mikoulchik 2 (Latta, Noren), 3:26, ppg; 7, B, Duncanson 20 (Mathieson), 4:33; 8, NH, Anderson 32 (Willett). Penalties: B, Mathieson (double minor, high sticking, :27; NH, Tuer (cross check), 4:33; NH, Willett (slashing), 7:04; B, Mathieson (slashing), 7:04; B, Savage (holding), 9:59; NH, Baseggio (delay of game), 9:59; NH, Tuer (holding), 10:57.

Shots on goal: B, 15-12-14-41; NH, 7-5-7-19. Goalies: B, Dafoe 14 saves; NH, Maneluk 38. Referee: Blaine Angus. Linesmen: Chris Colby, Glen Cooke. A: 4682.

Skipjacks tonight

Opponent: Hershey Bears

Site: Hersheypark Arena, 7:30

Radio: WERQ (1010 AM)

Tickets: Sellout expected

Outlook: The Skipjacks have won only once from Hershey in the last six meetings, a 7-4 victory, Jan. 24 at the Baltimore Arena. Hershey is 5-0-1 against the Skipjacks at Hersheypark Arena including a 4-3 win Feb. 8. Hershey has C Al Conroy, LW Wes Walz, LW Dale Kushner, C Mark Freer and D Claude Boivin on recall with the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers have sent RW Pat Murray and D Ryan McGill to the Bears.

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