Bandits and Maneluk double their pleasure, beating Bears Left wing scores twice to help finish sweep, 5-4

January 29, 1996|By Phil Jackman | Phil Jackman,SUN STAFF

Most players would look at their point total, figure they're doing a good job if it exceeded the number of games played and let it go at that. Particularly if the night before they set up three goals in a victory with a series of nice passes.

Still, Mike Maneluk has had an uneasy feeling that something was missing from his game. He just might have found it yesterday as he scored twice as the Bandits were completing a weekend sweep of the Hershey Bears, 5-4.

"Everybody goes through slumps," said the left wing on Baltimore's potent Plug Line, "but you do get anxious."

Especially when you're talking with your father up in Winnipeg and he casually mentions that your goal total hasn't changed in the Hockey News in a few weeks.

"Our line has been playing so well that you don't worry too much about goals," Maneluk said. "Both JJ [J. F. Jomphe] and Dwayne [Norris] have been hitting regularly so what more can you ask for?"

Besides, Maneluk has had two goals and nine assists in the dozen games he has played since his last two-goal game back on Dec. 27. Plus the sweep moved the Bandits within a point of Hershey for second place in the AHL's Southern Division.

After playing one of their dumbest games in quite a spell while losing to Baltimore, 7-2, Saturday night up I-83, the Bears were a never-say-die opponent on this occasion. There was good reason for this:

Coach Bill Barber not only sat down four of his veterans -- Shawn McCosh, Bruce Coles, Todd Nelson and Darren Rumble -- he didn't even bring them on the trip. "I told the four to go home, think about things and come in on Thursday," said Barber, a Hall of Fame player for the Philadelphia Flyers in his day.

"What I'm looking for is an honest effort on the ice, and I need more out of them."

Hershey hadn't allowed more than three goals during an eight-game run when Rochester lit up the Bears for five Friday, then the Bandits scored a dozen over two games. Hershey has lost four in a row since going 5-0-1.

"I told the guys I can live with the won-lost column, but we have to play together and we have to play hard," said Barber.

That the Bears did while falling behind twice by two goals before finishing with a rush, which gave them the opportunity for a tie at the end when they had a two-skater advantage.

With a goal barrage to gloat over, Baltimore coach Walt Kyle instead cited the work of the forwards on defense. "As the season goes on, it gets tougher and tougher to score as teams change gear," he said. "All along our guys have been coming to the realization that if they're good defensively the offense will come. We've got a lot of guys who are going to score goals."

Newly acquired Jim Campbell, for instance. He had a pair in Hershey and added another one yesterday.

NOTE: The Bandits finally got a victory out of their Sunday matinee schedule after being 0-4-1.

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