Their offense depleted by two midweek call-ups, the Skipjacks answered emphatically with defense last night.
They used goals from three defensemen and a 34-save performance from goalie Byron Dafoe to beat the defending AHL champion Adirondack Red Wings, 5-3, before 2,394 at the Baltimore Arena.
The game ended with a brawl on the ice after Adirondack's Darren McCarthy drew a game misconduct.
"We checked [Vyacheslav] Kozlov and [Chris] Tancill and we did lTC it very well," said Skipjacks coach Barry Trotz. "They thought we were taking liberties against their skill players. But we didn't.
"Our game plan was to irritate and contain their top players. I don't think they respond to that type of play."
Adirondack coach Newell Brown did not absolve his team of some of the blame for the game-ending fracas.
"A lot of things happened on the ice," Brown said. "Both teams were at fault."
Thursday the parent Washington Capitals called up the Skipjacks' leading scorer, winger Keith Jones, and center Steve Konowalchuk.
In their absence, the Skipjacks struck for three second-period goals and killed off a five-minute major to take a 4-2 lead.
Right wing Reggie Savage scored on a breakaway 1:07 into the period, taking a pass from Martin Jiranek just outside the blue line and then splitting two defensemen. His hustle on the play gave Baltimore a 2-0 lead.
Before the period ended, the Skipjacks got a pair of goals from defensemen Mike Boback and Ken Klee to go up 4-1.
Boback beat Chris Osgood with a wrist shot in front of the net after taking a pass from John Byce, who had retrieved a loose puck behind the net.
Some two minutes later, Klee fired a 30-footer past Osgood.
Dafoe gave up Tancill's 12th goal of the season on a power play, and another to Jason York in the second period. But otherwise, Dafoe was superb in the period. He stopped 16 shots, and helped kill off a five-minute major after Bob Babcock drew a game misconduct. Babcock leveled Adirondack's Marc Potvin behind the Skipjacks goal with 4:52 left in the period.
"They put their best players on long shifts on the power play," Trotz said, "and when we killed it off, that tired them out. It took a lot out of them."
Defenseman Jim Mathieson finished off the Skipjacks' scoring with a backhand goal in the third period.
The Skipjacks scored the only goal of the first period when winger Trevor Halverson tapped a rebound past Osgood. Halverson scored just as Kozlov was returning to the ice after a two-minute stick-holding penalty.