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Skipjacks, Slaney end Moncton win streak, 6-3


Help for the Skipjacks came from two unlikely sources.

Offensive help came from a defenseman. Defensive help came from the bench.

Defenseman John Slaney, who had scored 12 goals all season, slapped in two to lead the Skipjacks to a 6-3 victory over the Moncton Hawks last night before 1,896 at the Baltimore Arena. It ended a four-game Moncton winning streak.

Defensive help arrived in the second period in the person of Byron Dafoe. He came off the bench to replace Duane Derksen, who was pulled by coach Barry Trotz after allowing the first two Moncton goals.

For Slaney, who joined the Skipjacks late last season out of junior hockey in Canada, it was the first two-goal game of his pro career. The 21-year-old from Newfoundland scored both goals in the second period, when the Skipjacks took a 4-2 lead.

Moncton inched within 4-3 on Pavel Kostichkin's goal with 6 1/2 minutes left, but Rob Leask and Rod Taylor scored in the final minute for the final winning margin.

The Skipjacks' Trevor Halverson opened the game's scoring with his 12th goal of the season. Moncton's Rob Murray, who played for the Skipjacks from 1988 to '91, tied it at 1 at the 4:18 mark.

After Craig Martin gave Moncton a 2-1 lead in the second period, Trotz immediately yanked Derksen and inserted Dafoe. Martin's shot was a 55-footer that glanced off Derksen's stick.

The Skipjacks then ran off three unanswered goals, two by Slaney and one by Randy Pearce.

Last night's game marked Trotz's first against his former boss, Rob Laird, who coached the Skipjacks for 1 1/2 seasons. Now Moncton's coach, Laird was supplanted as Skipjacks head coach late last season by his assistant, Trotz.

"It does feel a little funny," Trotz said before the game. "But a whole year has passed. I respect Robby and learned a lot from him. There's no extra incentive just because we're playing against his team. All we want are two points for a win."

NOTES: Rob Joyce, a former Skipjack, is Moncton's No. 2 scorer. . . . Trotz says Darren McAusland, an AHL rookie with 12 goals and 12 assists in his first 51 games, is showing improvement. "The key is he's playing harder," Trotz said, noting McAusland's two goals and three assists in a recent four-game period. "He's willing to throw his body into the corners. He's taking the defenseman wide and using his shot, and it's a good shot. With some of our young guys getting more ice time because of injuries, it translates into goals. He's capable of being a real goal scorer in this league." Chris Longo, Randy Pearce and Terry Chitaroni are other members of what Trotz calls his young "lunch pail" crew. Said Trotz: "This is invaluable time they're getting. As a result, down the stretch, they'll be factors rather than just participants.". . . The Skipjacks now have three straight road games -- Friday against Hamilton, Saturday against Hershey and March 12 against Binghamton.

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