IceCats show unusual power, top Bandits All Worcester's goals come on penalties in 4-3 win

March 28, 1996|By Phil Jackman | Phil Jackman,SUN STAFF

Numbers say only one team in the AHL is more feeble than the Worcester IceCats when it comes to power-play efficiency. Wait'll the computer in the league office gets the statistics from last night's game: Tilt!

The IceCats, off to a good start with the game's first two goals against the Bandits, ended up hanging on, 4-3.

All Worcester goals were the result of Bandits penalties, causing coach Jimmy Roberts to exalt, "We haven't scored four power plays in the month. I guess my strategy of leaving them [the personnel] alone paid off."

The visitors had hit on a paltry 16 percent of man-advantage chances previously, but by hitting on four of five tries on this occasion, they raised that number to 17 percent, going past four others.

The Bandits (26-35-9) once again are in the midst of adjusting, tinkering and trying to find effective combinations as the fight for the last playoff spot in their conference heats up.

"The new guys [defenseman Keith Aldridge and wing Frank Banham] did well," coach Walt Kyle said. "Both need some size and strength and they'll get that. . . . they played better than some guys who have been here."

Baltimore gave indication early that it might go an entire period without putting a shot on goal. It was 12: 40 into play before the Worcester goalie had to stir. It was still scoreless, however.

The IceCats, who captured the season series 3-2-1, got power plays 19 seconds apart. But the Bandits got those back, Steve King (33) and Slava Butsayev (21) scoring, and it was square at 2.

The home team couldn't keep from taking sojourns in the penalty box, though, and the second of Paul Broten's goals put the Cats ahead for good after the mid- point of the second session. The teams swapped power-play goals over the last 20 minutes.

"We haven't been good at penalty-killing all year," said Kyle, "but give them some credit, they have good power-play personnel. We got a good effort by a group of tired young defensemen."

The Bandits didn't lose any ground with the loss, both Carolina and Syracuse being idle. They did lose one of two games in hand they had against the Monarchs.

Pub Date: 3/28/96

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