WORCESTER, Mass. - It was apparent early, and it was apparent often. The Baltimore Bandits were in for a long night.
A shade over two minutes into last night's game, Worcester's Paul Broten scored the first of his two goals, and the Bandits never bothered to play catch-up. They eventually fell to the IceCats, 6-2, before 3,432 at the Centrum.
The defense was in constant disarray, the special teams were anything but special, and oh, yes, the offense wasn't very good either. Though outshot by just six (35-29), the Bandits put on just one flurry of three shots, went 0-for-5 on the power play, and gave the IceCats three man-advantage scores.
"The offense didn't move the puck well," said Bandits coach Walt Kyle, "and the defense didn't stand up. It was a bad effort all the way around."
Early in the first period, porous play by the Baltimore defense cost the Bandits one goal and nearly led to another.
Broten put the IceCats on the board at 2: 02, beating goalie Mike O'Neill with a low wrister to the short side. Broten stood unbothered, 20 feet to the right of O'Neill, as he accepted Fred Knipscheer's pass from the corner.
A minute later, Knipscheer moved untouched across the crease, with the puck on his backhand. He spun around, trying to draw O'Neill out, but the goalie smothered the puck before Knipscheer could lift it over him.
Baltimore had the only power play in the period, but couldn't muster a serious threat. Its best bid came with 5: 04 remaining when Kimbi Daniels hit Mike Maneluk with a lead pass at the blue line. Maneluk sped in alone but couldn't beat goalie Jamie McLennan, who made a quick glove save on the high blast.
Broten helped the IceCats to a 3-0 lead, scoring at 4: 14, then assisting on Alex Vasilevskii's power play goal five minutes later. The Bandits got one back at 11: 05 when Chris Herperger tipped in Pavel Trnka's blue-line blast.
Trnka had intercepted a Worcester clearing attempt, then let his shot go. It was slightly off target, but it banked off Herperger, who was standing just off the left post.
A power play moments later gave the Bandits a great chance to draw closer. Although they moved the puck well, they managed just one shot (by Norris).
"They had some great opportunities," said Worcester coach Jimmy Roberts, "but they didn't take advantage of them."
O'Neill held the score close with three big saves, including one he made off Broten from just outside the crease.
Late in the period, referee Scott Zelkin called an odd pair of penalties when he sent Worcester's Craig Darby for hooking Daniels. But he also made a call on Daniels for taking a dive.
Knipscheer put the Bandits back into a three-goal hole when he scored on the power play (his 28th) at 17: 29.
Norris replied for Baltimore, with 39 seconds remaining in the period, but that's the closest the Bandits would get. Worcester's Chris Kenady buried the Bandits with two goals in the third period.
Pub Date: 3/14/96