SYDNEY, Nova Scotia - The real bandit was in the Cape Breton goal.
That's what the Baltimore Bandits found out at Centre 200 last night, when goaltender Fred Brathwaite of the Cape Breton Oilers turned aside 36 of the 39 shots and helped his team steal a 4-3 American Hockey League victory.
Brathwaite, newly returned from the parent Edmonton Oilers, stopped Baltimore captain Dwayne Norris on a breakaway early in the third period and then stripped Norris of the puck while he was leading a four-on-one break into the Oilers' zone later in the session. The stops gave his mates the reprieve they needed before adding two goals in the final half of the period.
"Credit their goalie," Baltimore coach said Walt Kyle said. "I thought we played well. We deserved a better fate, but we ran into a red-hot goalie and that was pretty much the story of the night."
Brathwaite was scintillating in the first two periods, as the Oilers built a 2-0 lead on power-play goals from defensemen Blair Scott and Greg de Vries. But he was truly at his best with the game on the line in the third when the Bandits fired 14 shots his way and bagged their three goals.
Successive counters by Don McSween and Mike Maneluk via the power-play in the first 5: 25 of the third evened the score at 2 and put the visitors on the comeback trail. But Brathwaite repelled Norris' breakaway at 3: 43 of the third and foiled him again in the ninth minute before the Oilers broke through with their game-winning surge.
Dennis Bonvie and Steve Tepper scored consecutive goals less than four minutes apart to give the home team a 4-2 edge. Baltimore managed to keep its hopes alive at 15: 43, when Viacheslav Butsayev, left unattended at the open corner, stuffed home Steven King's feed to narrow the margin to a single goal.
"That was great," said a delighted Brathwaite at game's end. "I haven't played that much in recent weeks, so it was good to get the work."
Still, the small goalie tried to downplay his importance.
"I was wishing he [Norris] would deke on that breakaway, but he didn't and I was lucky to make the save," he said. "On the four-on-one, I just guessed right. I thought he would make a pass before he got in that close, but luckily I was able to sweep the puck away before he could make a play."
The Bandits limited the Oilers to five shots on goal in the final period. Fortunately for the Oilers, two of them found open space.
Bonvie redirected Rem Murray's feed at 11: 23 to give the Oilers a 3-2 edge and Tepper banged in the game-winner at 15: 12.
Assistant coach Mike Krushelnyski had just made a neat play to keep the puck in the Baltimore zone and set Tepper up for his backhand shot that proved to be the winner.
The Bandits answered 21 seconds later to reduce the margin to a single goal. But they weren't able to crack the Oilers' defenses in the final minutes, as Cape Breton kept the puck from harm's way while shooting at an empty Baltimore goal for the final 55 seconds.
Bandits ... 0 0 3 3
Cape Breton 1 1 2 4
First period 1. Cape Breton, Scott 2 (de Vries, Murray) 14: 20, pp. Penalties Herperger (B) holding, 7: 55; Herperger (B) interference, 10: 00; Baltimore bench (served by Butsayev) too many men, 12: 32; Maltby (CB) roughing, 16: 02.
Second period 2. Cape Breton, de Vries 7 (Scott, Wright) 19: 31, pp. Penalties Hauer (CB) roughing, : 58; Tepper (CB) tripping, 7: 11; Hauer (CB) delay of game, 10: 25; Tsulygin (B) interference, 17: 41.
Third period 3. Bandits, McSween 1 (Herperger, Maneluk) 0: 16. 4. Bandits, Maneluk 26 (Norris, Marshall) 5: 25, pp 5. Cape Breton, Bonvie 11 (Murray, Maltby), 11: 33. 6. Cape Breton, Tepper 7 (Krushelnyski, Neilson) 15: 13. 7. Bandits, Butsayev 19 (King, Lambert) 15: 43. Penalty Maltby (CB) slashing, 3: 53.
Shots on goal: Bandits 8-17-14-39; Cape Breton 7-12-5-24. Power-play opportunities: Bandits 1 for 5; Cape Breton 2 for 4. Goaltenders: Bandits, O'Neill (24 shots, 20 saves, 25-27-7); Brathwaite (39 shots, 36 saves, 12-11-0). Referee: Brad Watson. Linesmen: John Pierre, Kent Brewer. Att: n/a.
Pub Date: 3/16/96