Call-ups are putting Bandits to the test Loss of 2 scorers makes Springfield tougher test

February 07, 1996|By Phil Jackman | Phil Jackman,SUN STAFF

Last time Springfield was in town a couple of weeks ago, coach Kevin McCarthy took one look at what the Bandits were trying to do out on the ice and ordered a safety-first style from his troops.

"Don't try to take anything that's not there; they're looking for quick turnovers in the neutral zone," he said.

So it turned out to be a contest abounding in strategy, slow and methodical, usually another name for a dull affair, the Falcons prevailing, 1-0. In the third period, neither team scored or really threatened, no one drew a penalty, nary a cross word was uttered and the goaltenders combined were only required to make eight stops between yawns.

That night, the Bandits had all their guns, including a 10th skater to bolster the three forward lines. They were shy a defenseman, yes, but the team has learned to live with that. Now the question is, if Baltimore lost then and in Springfield on Friday in a similar game, what can be expected tonight when the Falcons are at the Baltimore Arena for a 7 o'clock visit?

It wasn't just a couple of bodies the parent Mighty Ducks of Anaheim plucked off the Bandits' roster for their NHL game in Toronto tonight. The players involved, J. F. Jomphe and Jim Campbell, are mainstays. Jomphe, for instance, leads the club in points, assists and shares the team lead in power-play goals. Campbell is the type of marksman every team yearns for.

Naturally, the Ducks are looking out for their own best interests, and they're in a free fall that sees just three teams in the 26-team NHL with fewer points. They need help anywhere they can get it, particularly on the power play.

Still, to grab Jomphe and Campbell without so much as a replacement or two to give the Bandits a full complement of players borders on ridiculous. The last time the team played at home, Hershey had 25 players on its roster and sat out seven. Tonight, the Bandits' roster will number 19, so just one uniform will go unused.

With forwards missing, wings Scott McKay and Maxim Bets figure to get the call. Which means the Bandits probably will be going with just five defensemen, a definite risk, particularly going against one of the two top teams in the AHL.

Ever the optimist, outwardly at least, coach Walt Kyle says, "The elevation of Jomphe and Campbell will open it up for some of the guys here to show what they can do with the added ice time. Besides, we've been playing well lately."

Kyle seeks bodies just to fill out attack lines and defensive pairings, but it's a bit different for McCarthy. "With Hartford and Winnipeg as our NHL affiliates, we have a lot of players and it's really competitive among the guys to stay in the lineup and make the most of the ice time they get," the Springfield coach said.

Bandits tonight

Opponent: Springfield Falcons

Site: Baltimore Arena

Time: 7

Radio: WITH (1230 AM), WAMD (970 AM)

Outlook: Not promising. While it's true the Bandits have played Springfield tough in their last two meetings, losing a pair of one-goal games, the fact remains the Falcons own three victories and are going for a season sweep tonight. Springfield leads the Northern Division by 18 points and is three points behind Albany for top spot in the AHL. Missing from the Bandits' cast will be J. F. Jomphe and Jim Campbell, called up by Anaheim.

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