Goalie gamble nets point for Bandits, 5-5 Backup Penstock limits Rangers as O'Neill rests

February 19, 1996|By Jason LaCanfora | Jason LaCanfora,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

BINGHAMPTON, N.Y. — BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- Baltimore Bandits coach Walt Kyle is a gambler.

Kyle was hoping that rookie goalie Byron Penstock could help the Bandits steal a point from the Southern Division-leading Rangers, while workhorse goalie Mike O'Neill rested up in Baltimore for this evening's rematch.

It worked. A resilient Baltimore team fought back from deficits of 2-0, 3-2, 4-3, and 5-4 before tying the Rangers, 5-5, on a Darren Van Impe goal with just 15 seconds left in regulation, before 4,643 fans at the Broome County Memorial Arena.

Penstock, winless in 10 appearances with the Bandits, faced 16 shots in the opening 10 minutes, stopping 14 of them. He last played Jan. 24. O'Neill, on the other hand, is leading the American Hockey League in minutes and saves and has 22 wins to his credit.

"I was very happy with Byron's play," Kyle said. "He let us get a point on the road, and now we can come back with Mike, who is probably in bed right now. We have to play Byron. He deserves some time in net and I don't think you could fault him on any of those goals tonight."

Ken Gernander, the AHL's second-leading scorer with 40 goals, tucked in his first of two power-play goals on a five-on-three advantage, and Maxim Galanov was left alone in slot on the ensuing five-on-four to open a 2-0 lead in the first period.

With 84 power-play goals, Binghamton is on pace to set an AHL single-season record.

But the Bandits defense buckled down and did not allow a shot for the next 14 minutes. Meanwhile, Baltimore's much less heralded power play connected -- Mike Maneluk scoring his 23rd goal and his first in seven games.

Baltimore scored three times in the second period, with Maneluk's second power-play tally making it 4-4. Sandwiched between Maneluk's goals were scores by Sean Pronger and Steven King, an ex-Ranger who flipped a shot over Binghamton goalie Jamie Ram's glove while sliding on his knees.

The Rangers went up 5-4 early in the third period and appeared to have the game won when Van Impe deked a defenseman and let go of a shot from the blue line that sneaked into the top left corner with just 15 seconds to play.

Maneluk had a couple of chances to end it in overtime and give Penstock his first AHL win, but Ram made two glove saves.

"It's been frustrating," Penstock said. "In overtime I was just going nuts, hoping we would be able to get one by them. Unfortunately, I was denied the win tonight, but I'll just enjoy it all the more when I get it."

Bandits today

Opponent: Binghamton Rangers

Site: Baltimore Arena

Time: 5

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

Outlook: The mystery continues why the Bandits are a better team on the road (12-12-4) than they are at home (10-14-4). Held to two goals or fewer in eight of their past 10 games, scoring wasn't a problem over the weekend as Baltimore tallied nine times in the win in Portland and last night's tie, picking up three of a possible four points in the standings. The Rangers, conceded to be the best team in the Southern Division, hold a 4-3-1 advantage over the Bandits.

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