Power plays short-circuit Bandits Late short-handed goals help Bears to 5-2 win

November 27, 1995|By Phil Jackman | Phil Jackman,SUN STAFF

It looked as if a prayer had been answered. The Bandits had been trailing seemingly forever in a game between two tired hockey teams when Hershey defenseman Aris Brimanis was sent to the penalty box for two minutes for delay of game.

Baltimore had scored power-play goals in its past six games and, some time before, had pressured the Bears goal. Down by one, the tying goal appeared to be a strong possibility.

Within 32 seconds, Hershey's Bruce Coles, then Yanick Dupre scored short-handed goals. Suddenly, yesterday's 2-1 game at the Baltimore Arena was 4-1 and the Bears eased on from there, 5-2.

"We played exactly the way we wanted to play until those terrible plays near the end," said Bandits coach Walt Kyle. "Our game plan was to play disciplined and not give them man-advantage opportunities."

But the best-laid plans went awry when Dwayne Norris flipped a pass to the open spaces as the Bandits set up their power play and Coles ended up with the puck.

"But we still weren't out of it," said Kyle. "Yeah, we're down two goals, but we still had a minute and 40 left on the power play."

When Mike McHugh stepped in front of a Bandits exchange near the blue line and flipped it ahead to Dupre on a second breakaway, it was time for half the 4,011 in attendance to leave.

It was an endurance contest. The Bandits had won in Binghamton, N.Y., on Saturday night, then came back to Baltimore by bus. Hershey, completing its third game within 48 hours, was coming off a 6-1 loss to St. John's at home.

"Coming in, we had seen what Norris had been doing here," said Hershey coach Jay Leach. "We know he's an excellent player. In fact, over the years, we've probably seen him too much.

"He's so effective using his speed and savvy, we knew we'd have to have someone on him at all times."

The responsibility fell primarily to Vaclav Prospal and Shawn McCosh.

Meanwhile, "our workhorses," as Leach calls Dupre and McHugh, applied the clamps to Norris' linemates J. J. Jomphe and Mike Maneluk. After a run of 37 points in their first six games together, the Plug Line was blanked -- no goals, no assists, not hits, no runs and one big error.

"Problem is," said Kyle, "we've been getting all our offense out of one line. Actually, it's been ridiculously one-sided. That line was stopped tonight, and we were almost back to the type team we were earlier. Others have to step up now."

Considering Bandits players hadn't staggered off the bus until 3:30 a.m. yesterday, Baltimore held its own for the first 50 minutes and had sufficient opportunities to be in a tie game heading down the stretch.

Hershey got a power play early, but Dave Sacco's stuff shot squared it after one period. Dupre scored his first goal 7:39 into the second period, and that's the way it stood until the Bandits were given a power play by the delay call against Brimanis.

"It's not an excuse," said Kyle, "but we knew fatigue would be a concern late in the game. Sure, we were tired, but that wasn't what beat us. It was giving up two poor short-handed goals."

Besides doing yeoman work shadowing Baltimore's top guns, Dupre had two goals and an assist, Prospal had a goal and two assists and McHugh had two assists.

"All of them are good skaters and good checkers," said Leach.

NOTES: A glass panel (and the supporting post) atop the dasher boards came tumbling down on the ice midway through the first period, extending the game-delay streak to all 10 home games. . . . The Bandits get their first look at the Cape Breton Oilers Wednesday (7 p.m.).

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