HERSHEY, Pa. -- Hersheypark Arena has become a chamber of horrors for the Skipjacks this season.
Last night, the horrors continued, as the Hershey Bears rallied from a 5-3 third-period deficit to defeat the Skipjacks, 8-6, before a sellout crowd of 7,759.
The loss kept the Skipjacks winless (0-5-1) at Hersheypark Arena this season. Three of the losses have come after Baltimore led in the final period.
"I promise you some changes will be made," said Skipjacks owner Tom Ebright. "I'm not going to continue to put up with this."
The loss was the 11th in the past 12 for Baltimore and the 14th in the past 17 (2-14-1). It kept the Skipjacks in last place in the Southern Division, six points out of the last playoff spot.
"It's starting to get to the point where we guys who are supposed to be the team leaders are not coming through," said John Purves, who scored the goal that gave Baltimore a 5-3 lead. "We are having a letdown. Every little mistake seems to cost us a goal. We have to try and keep an open mind and look to the next game. We've played here enough to know that the first five to 10 minutes in each period here are crucial. Hershey comes out pumped up, and we have to stop them."
The Skipjacks trailed 3-1 after the first period, but rallied with four second-period goals to grab a 5-3 lead. Reggie Savage, Brent Hughes, Savage again and Purves gave Baltimore the lead.
Savage had three goals for Baltimore; Richie Walcott scored the other goal. Eric Dandenault and Pat Murray scored twice each for Hershey. Tim Tookey had three assists.
Marc D'Amour, starting his first game in the Hershey goal since he broke his thumb Jan. 7, made 32 saves. Ollie Kolzig started in goal for the Skipjacks but was replaced by Byron Dafoe at 6:24 of the third period after Hershey took a 7-5 lead.
"It's been like this for the last two months," Savage said. "We lead early, then let in one goal, and it snowballs. One mistake begets another, and before you know it we're losing again. The tough breaks continue to pile up night after night. But we have to stay positive and look to tomorrow."
Hershey's game-winning, third-period rally had all the earmarks of earlier Skipjacks losses here. The Bears got a power-play goal and the roof caved in.
Murray scored on a shot from the left point at 2:15 during a power play. Reid Simpson batted the rebound of his own shot on a breakaway past goalie Kolzig. Dandenault took a pass in the slot from Tookey and scored. Dandenault scored again on a shot that went off the back of Kolzig for a 7-5 Hershey lead.
McGill's short-handed, empty-net goal with 21 seconds remaining made the score 8-6. Richie Walcott scored a power-play goal with six seconds remaining for the final margin.
"Our team showed great poise in coming back from being 5-3 down," said Bears coach Mike Eaves. "I would like to see the team maintain the level of play it showed in the third period. This would carry us into the playoffs."
Baltimore 1 4 1 -- 6
Hershey 3 0 5 -- 8
First period -- 1. Hershey, Armstrong 17 (Fenyves, Tookey), 2:54; 2. Hershey, Fenyves 4 (Dandenault), 3:05; 3. Baltimore, Savage 33 (Sabourin, Hlushko), pp, 3:44; 4. Hershey, Murray 9 (Hostak, Walz), 11:03. Penalties -- Walcott, Bal ( fighting), 3:16; Dandenault, Her (fighting), 3:16; Porkka, Her (high-sticking), 3:16; Sabourin, Bal (high-sticking), 8:58; Savage, Bal (boarding), 14:35.
Second period -- 5. Baltimore, Savage 34 (Ferner, Hlushko), 6:09; 6. Baltimore, Hughes 25 (Walcott, Wheeldon), 6:53; 7. Baltimore, Savage 35 (Taylor, Hughes),pp, 9:06; 8. Baltimore, Purves 30 (Duncanson, Wheeldon), pp, 10:25. Penalties -- Hostak, Her major (high-sticking and game misconduct), 8:51; Taylor, Bal (hooking), 10:52; Ferner, Bal (Hooking), 11:38; Babcock, Bal (roughing), 13:48; Barrie, Her (slashing), 14:59; Seftel, Bal (delay of game), 18:23.
Third period -- 9. Hershey, Murray 10 (Rumble, Tookey), pp, 2:15; 10. Hershey, Simpson 10 (Barrie), 3:10; 11. Hershey, Dandenault 12 (Tookey, Rumble), 3:47; 12. Hershey, Dandenault 13 (Murray, Stothers), 6:24; 13. Hershey, McGill 2 (D'Amour) , sh, en, 19:39; 14. Baltimore, Walcott 2 (Ferner), pp, 19:54. Penalties -- Wheeldon, Bal (tripping), 1:21; Porkka, Her (high-sticking), 4:34; Taylor, Bal ( roughing), 4:34; Barrie, Her (hooking), 10:59; Simpson, Her (roughing), 14:39; Seftel, Bal (roughing), 14:39; Hughes, Bal (roughing), 16:23; Armstrong, Her ( roughing and misconduct), 16:23; Rumble, Her major (boarding and misconduct), 16:23.
Shots on goal--Baltimore 12-16-10-38. Hershey 8-8-13-29. Power-play opportunities--Baltimore 4 of 10. Hershey 1 of 6. Goalies--Baltimore, Kolzig 3- 13-2 ( 24 shots, 17 saves), Dafoe, in at 6:24 of third (4-4). Hershey, D'Amour, 7-4-2 (38-32). A--7,759. Referee--Richard Trottier. Linesmen--Randy Wisler, Rich Zerbe.