It's a good thing for the Skipjacks that they don't play the Cape Breton Oilers very often.
After being pounded by Cape Breton, 8-2, last night before 4,163 the Baltimore Arena, the Skipjacks won't be subjected to the ** Oilers again until March 28. The teams play only twice this season. They split two games last season.
"That was by far our worst effort of the year," Skipjacks coach Barry Trotz said. "Bad defense, bad everything. I can't think of a single area that was good."
The Skipjacks are being hit this weekend by an American Hockey League one-two punch. First, Cape Breton, the Atlantic Division leader. Tonight, the Binghamton Rangers, the runaway Southern Division leader.
It reached the point in the second period last night where fans booed every time Baltimore allowed a goal. Goaltender Duane Derksen became the scapegoat when he was lifted in favor of Mike Parson, but there was ample blame to go around for the leaky defense.
Parson, on loan from the Boston Bruins while Byron Dafoe recovers from a sprained ankle, made his first Skipjacks appearance since joining the club last Wednesday.
Parson allowed one goal, the only score of the third period -- Craig Fisher's second goal of the night. Bill McDougall also had two goals for Cape Breton.
"We lost every one-on-one battle," Trotz said. "Our defensive coverage early was horrible. They beat us to every loose puck and totally dominated us."
The first period was all Cape Breton as the Oilers outshot the Skipjacks, 14-7, and jumped to a 3-0 lead. Derksen made several acrobatic saves, only to let defenseman Jeff Bloemberg's shot whistle between his legs for a 1-0 Cape Breton edge with seven minutes gone. Bloemberg was all alone in front of the crease.
Derksen never had a chance to stop the second goal. The Oilers were plotting behind the cage, passing the puck back and forth, when Shaun Van Allen suddenly slapped it to Dan Currie, unguarded in front of the net.
Currie, the AHL's points and goals leader, converted the pass into his 24th goal of the season. It was Van Allen's 39th assist.
Cape Breton extended its lead to 7-2 after two periods as Bill McDougall scored twice. Martin Jiranek scored the Skipjacks' first goal and Tim Taylor added the second.
Jiranek returned from the injured list last night after missing seven games with a shoulder injury. Left wing John Byce, the team's leading scorer, missed his second straight game with a bruised leg.
Mike Boback, Darren McAusland, Jeff Nelson and Ken Sabourin are the only Jacks who have played in every game.
Last night's game marked the start of a 10-game stretch in which the Skipjacks play seven times at home. This follows a period in which they played nine of 10 on the road.
Cape Breton 3 4 1 -- 8
Skipjacks 0 2 0 -- 2