Keith Jones scored four goals, as the Skipjacks tuned up for their season opener with a 7-5 win over the Hershey Bears last night at the Baltimore Arena.
Jones came to the Skipjacks for the final six games of last season from Western Michigan of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. The 23-year-old Canadian's first three goals last night came in succession, bringing the Skipjacks from a 2-0 deficit to a 3-2 lead early in the second period.
The Skipjacks will launch their American Hockey League season Friday (7:35 p.m.) at home against the Binghamton Rangers. Binghamton is the preseason favorite in the AHL Southern Division on the strength of last season's first-place finish.
The Hershey team the Skipjacks saw last night was essentially the same one they'll face here Saturday night in the second game of the regular season. The Bears got Ryan McGill, Lance Pitlick and Wes Walz from the parent Philadelphia Flyers.
The Skipjacks, conversely, aren't set. Coach Barry Trotz expected players to be shipped by the Washington Capitals this week, but the Capitals lost Dimitri Khristich and Sylvain Cote to injuries over the weekend against Philadelphia.
"There probably would have been two other Caps sent down to us, but it didn't happen because of the injuries," Trotz said. "The Caps also lost Ivan Corriveau to the San Jose Sharks in the waiver draft."