HAMILTON, Ontario -- The Skipjacks survived a furious Hamilton Canucks comeback and settled for a 4-4 tie before 3,652 last night at Copps Coliseum.
The Skipjacks had a 3-0 lead at the midway point of the second period and had a 4-2 lead five minutes into the final period before Hamilton scored twice 23 seconds past the midway point of the third.
The teams played a fast, free-flowing, five-minute overtime, with Hamilton having the best chances, but Skipjacks goaltender Byron Defoe came up with a couple of saves.
"You have to be happy with a tie on the road," Baltimore coach Barry Trotz said. "It also will take away any momentum Hamilton could have got with a win."
The Canucks are one of two teams chasing the Skipjacks for the final Southern Division playoff. Last night's result basically leaves the situation unchanged. Hamilton (46 points) remains 10 points back with 18 games to play, and Baltimore (56 points) has 17. Hershey (48 points), which Baltimore plays tonight, is sandwiched between the teams.
Randy Pearce, with a pair, led Baltimore, and Rob Leask and John Slaney had singles. Troy Neumeier, Doug Torrel, Neil Eisenhut and Dane Jackson scored for Hamilton.
The Skipjacks went up 4-2 in the third when Pearce deflected a wrist shot off one of Eisenhut's skate past Jason Fitzsimmons at the 4:25 mark. The game remained that way until 12:47 when Eisenhut made up for his mistake with a back-hander past Dafoe. Twenty-three seconds later, Jackson completed the scoring on a deflection.
Baltimore had built a 3-0 lead by the midway point of the second period only to see the Canucks come back with two goals in the final two minutes of the period.
Slaney gave Baltimore its three-goal lead when he capitalized on some good work by teammate Mike Boback. After the Skipjacks messed up a three-on-two opportunity, Boback followed the play behind the net and picked up a loose puck and sneaked a pass through to Slaney alone in the slot.
NOTES: Among the 3,652 in attendance last night were 70 members of the Skipjacks fan club. They were greeted by Hamilton's fifth major snowstorm of the year. . . . Referee Dan O'Halloran issued fighting major penalties to Baltimore's Terry Chitaroni and Hamilton's Neil Eisenhut in the second period.
Opponent: Hershey Bears
Site: Hersheypark Arena, Hershey, Pa.
Outlook: The Skipjacks lead the series against their main American Hockey League rival, 7-4-0. The Bears have won three of their past 10. They are 13-14-5 at home, while the Skipjacks are 7-17-5 on the road. Hershey is second to Providence in AHL attendance with a 6,160 average. The Bears' Tim Tookey is second in the league's points race with 87, behind the Binghamton Rangers' Don Biggs. The Skipjacks' Mike Boback is No. 3 among AHL rookie scorers.