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Binghamton Rangers

1990 - 1997

American Hockey League (AHL)

Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena

Playoffs Next On Team’s Agenda Following 5-2 Win Over Skipjacks

April 1, 1991

Paul Stewart, Staff Writer

 Press & Sun Bulletin

The game amounted to nothing more than a pre-playoff scrimmage at best.  That’s what it resembled as well—a practice.

After being embarrassed in Baltimore nine days ago, the Binghamton Rangers had a bit more emotion in a meaningless game Sunday and defeated the Skipjacks, 5-2, in the American Hockey League regular-season finale for both teams.  It was also a warm-up for their upcoming playoff series.

The Rangers, who lost 7-1 at Baltimore on March 24, finished in the Southern Division with a 44-30-6 record—five more wins than there predecessors, the Binghamton Whalers, had in their last two seasons combined.  The 1988-89 Whalers finished seventh with a record of 28-46-6.  The ’89-90 Whalers set an AHL futility record at 11-60-9.

Binghamton is in its first season as an affiliate of the New York Rangers after being associated with Hartford for the last 10.

Following the game, the Rangers players and coaches received a standing ovation from the crowd of 3,484 at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.  It was the most emotional moment in an otherwise uneventful day.

But come this weekend, intensity will be a much different story, as the Rangers and Skipjacks will begin their best-of-seven quarterfinal series Friday and Saturday in Binghamton.  Ironically, their two National Hockey League parent clubs—the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals—also will meet in the Patrick Division semifinals.

Both series are expected to be much tougher battles.

“You can’t really get much out of a game like this,” Binghamton coach John Paddock said, “I don’t think anyone really good stood out.  I think you’ll see Baltimore coming at us 10 times as hard as on Friday night.”

After the fourth game in five nights for both teams, Baltimore coach Rob Laird wasn’t concerned about the lackluster performance.

“I certainly think they showed more (emotion) than w did,” Laird said.  “They played like they wanted it more.  To be honest, the game meant very little.  IT would have been nice to win, but we’re not going to sulk over this one.”

Both coaches took the opportunity to watch the game from the south press box.  Binghamton assistants Don Nachbaur and All Hill worked behind the bench for the Rangers.  Baltimore assistant Barry Trotz coached the Skipjacks.

After a mostly uneventful first period the Rangers scored four unanswered goals in the second, with line mates Ross Fitzpatrick and Len Hachborn teaming for the first three.

The Rangers went up 1-0 just 2:49 into the period, when Hachborn beat Jim Hrivnak after Binghamton controlled the puck in the Skipjacks’ zone for nearly a minute.

Fitzpatrick added a pair of goals with Hachborn assistants on both to make it 3-0 at the 15:25 mark.

“That’s probably been our best line for the past five or six games,” center Tim Armstrong said.  “If guys like Fitzpatrick and Hachborn are scoring for us going into the playoffs, that helps a lot.  When you’ve got three lines that can score, that’s a plus.”

Binghamton’s Daniel Lacroix, who returned from a six-game AHL suspension scored shorthanded with 2:09 left in the period to make it 4-0.

Baltimore’s John Purves broke up Sam St. Laurent’s shutout at 10:03 of the third period.  Just 33 seconds later a multiple-player altercation broke out, with Baltimore’s Rob Murray getting the worst of the deal with majors for cross-checking and fighting, a 10-minute misconduct and a game misconduct.

Binghamton’s Guy Larose and Baltimore’s Steve Maltais rounded out the scoring with third-period goals.

There was some satisfaction in the win for the Rangers.

“After our last game there, we didn’t want to lose,” Armstrong said.  “We wanted to show them a better effort.”

Both teams will likely have altered lineups when the two open their best-of-seven playoff series’ Friday.  A number of players sat out Sunday’s game nursing injuries.

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