The Bandits were hot, winning three games and tying one in their past five. The Monarchs were not, the road-weary visitors from Carolina playing for a third straight night and fourth time in five days with a losing streak up to three.
Besides, Baltimore had made mince pie out of them, 6-1, last Wednesday. So much for form, appearances and immediate past performances.
Spotting the Bandits the first goal, the Monarchs got the next four, then played solid defense to breeze, 4-2. It was the first of 10 Sunday afternoon games at the Baltimore Arena this season.
After losing here, Carolina lost in Binghamton, 6-5, on Friday and by the same score in Hershey on Saturday night. Prize rookie goalie Kevin Weekes, playing all but one period over the stretch, had to be in shock. Did he recover in a big hurry.
"Psychologically," said Monarchs coach Rich Kromm, "Kevin needed that one as badly as we needed a win. We outshot Hershey, 45-25, but got nothing for it. But the guys weren't down. And we had two fresh defensemen ready for this game, so that helped."
What help the victors didn't get internally, the Bandits provided in a couple of ways. Of the Monarchs' four goals, one came on a missed assignment as scoring machine Brad Smyth (20 goals in 21 games) stood alone in front of the net, one was tipped in by a Bandits defenseman and Baltimore goalie Mike O'Neill never did get a glimpse at a blast from afar as much commotion followed a faceoff.
"Also," added Bandits coach Walt Kyle, "we weren't as sharp around the net and we weren't putting the shots on goal like we've been doing lately."
Indication that this might be a long evening came when Mike Maneluk barged in on goal on the first shift and fired high and wide. Moments later, Steven King had an opportunity in front and nothing happened.
Baltimore did get the first goal, Slava Butsayev getting his third, but two Smyth goals in six minutes put Carolina ahead to stay.
The Monarchs stretched their lead to 4-1 and, save for Maneluk's eighth goal late in the second period, the fourth consecutive game in which he has scored a goal, the 2,895 in attendance had little to cheer about. Especially the way Weekes was turning away shots once the Bandits were mounting a sustained attack in hopes of closing their deficit.
"From what I've seen," said Bandits goalie O'Neill, "once Weekes starts making those [acrobatic] stops, his confidence soars and it's really tough getting one by him."
NOTE: The Bandits have Oleg Mikulchik, a defenseman with four years' AHL experience, from Anaheim for conditioning purposes for five games. He was signed by the Mighty Ducks and was expected to play here but made the parent club. Mikulchik has played in only three games for the Ducks.