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Tie puts clip on Skipjacks' skid


BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- There were smiles outside the Skipjacks locker room last night -- a rare sight of late.

The Skipjacks, 1-12-0 in their previous 13 games, earned a 2-2 tie against the Binghamton Rangers when Steve Seftel scored his second goal of the season to tie the game with 5:31 remaining in regulation. Seftel returned earlier in the month from a knee injury and was playing in just his 10th game.

Although it wasn't a win, gaining a tie with the AHL Southern Division-leading Rangers might just help the fifth-place Skipjacks (23-30-7) get back on track.

"I thought we played a very smart game, as well as the effort being there," Skipjacks coach Rob Laird said. "All along I thought we've played hard, we just haven't been as cerebral as we should be. Tonight we were. We made good decisions at the blue line and looked responsible.

"The guys had to reach down into the reserve tanks. It's nice to be able to win the third period against the best hockey team in the league. That is a feather in our caps."

Said defenseman Mark Ferner: "When you're in a slide like we have been, it just seems like you are finding ways to lose instead of going out and finding ways to win. We're trying to keep as positive as we can. We have a good week of practice ahead of us and hopefully we can turn this thing around."

Binghamton's Jody Hull broke a 1-1 tie with a power-play goal at 14:44 of the second period. Hull dug out a rebound in front of goalie Byron Dafoe and flipped it in for his 22nd goal of the season.

Dafoe had a strong game, stopping 34 shots, including a flurry of three in overtime that enabled the Skipjacks to earn the point.

Down by an early goal by Binghamton's Peter Laviolette, the Skipjacks tied the game on Ken Lovsin's power-play goal at 12:41 of the first period.

Lovsin's shot from the point deflected off the pad of goalie Mark LaForest and into the net for his sixth goal of the season.

The Rangers went up 1-0 when Laviolette scored 122 seconds into the game. Laviolette skated in alone on Dafoe and scored his third goal of the season.

The Skipjacks were happy to get the point. It was closer to a defeat for Binghamton.

"I know the players are not too happy about it, or as happy as they should be," Binghamton coach Ron Smith said. "They know that we let a point get away and I think that that's good they feel that way."

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