Thunder targets powerful Bandits

March 02, 1996|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

The Buffalo Bandits may have impressed some people when they ran out to an 18-goal halftime lead before downing the expansion Charlotte Cobras, 28-6, last week, but Thunder coach Skip Lichtfuss wasn't one of them.

"Buffalo totally embarrassed Charlotte last week and we're not going to let them come to Baltimore and embarrass us," said Lichtfuss, whose team plays host to the Bandits tonight at 7:30.

"Beating up on a team like that is not good for the league and it's not good for Charlotte's franchise. You have to respect people no matter what their ability level is, and we don't think Buffalo respects anybody."

If Baltimore can pull an upset tonight, it would give the Thunder its first victory over the Bandits and improve its chances of securing an elusive playoff bid. The Thunder came close last season -- the only other time the Bandits visited Baltimore -- but lost in overtime, 19-18.

Baltimore visited Buffalo earlier this season and lost, 18-16.

"We would love to be the ones who bring Buffalo back down a couple notches, but it's going to take a 60-minute effort," said Lichtfuss. "We have to prevent the strings of four and five goals. If they do it once, that's one thing, but if they do it two or three times in a game, you won't recover. We have to find a way to stop those runs."

(MILL standings, Page 11C)

Thunder tonight

Opponent: Buffalo Bandits

Site: Baltimore Arena

Time: 7:30

Radio: WJFK (1300 AM)

Outlook: The Thunder (3-3) can put itself in the driver's seat for the MILL's fourth playoff spot with a win. Baltimore has not beaten the Bandits in six tries and is coming off an 18-11 loss to the New York Saints. The Bandits (5-0) enter the game after a record-breaking, 28-6 drubbing of the 0-7 expansion Charlotte Cobras last week in Buffalo, N.Y. Three-time All-Pro John Tavares leads the Bandits and the league in scoring with 24 goals and 21 assists. Mark Millon leads the Thunder with 11 goals and five assists and Tim Hormes had five goals against Buffalo the last time they met. Buffalo leads the MILL in nearly every category, including goals (18.4), assists (27.0), goals-against (10.8), on-goal shooting percentage (77.9) and on-goal scoring percentage (34.8). Baltimore, meanwhile, is last in the league in on-goal shooting percentage (66.4) and is second to last in the league in assists (10.5).

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