It was just one game. It only seemed like a homestand. But that has been typical when the Bandits and Binghamton Rangers have squared off this season.
The final score was Baltimore 10, Binghamton 8, and, remember, they give you only one point for goals in this league.
"The snipers -- Mike Maneluk, Jim Campbell and Steve King -- were sniping," said Bandits coach Walt Kyle. "That's what we said had to happen all year."
Weird game? To be sure, and then some, this carnage perpetrated before a sometimes bewildered Fan Appreciation Night crowd of 6,025. A few of the spectators probably were seeing a hockey game for the first time. Warning: They're not all like this one.
"You know," said Maneluk, Baltimore's assistant in charge of defense, "I think the last two times we've played, both teams had to pull their goalies."
True enough. On Feb. 28, the Rangers won here, 6-3, and, back on President's Day, Feb. 19, the Rangers prevailed, 7-6, in a contest that strained credibility.
"Some will say that us missing two defensemen [Don McSween because of a broken wrist and Oleg Mikulchik because of stitches to his chin and face] was the reason for this. That's bull," said Kyle. "We gave them a 5-on-3. There were at least three soft goals and two bad back-checking mistakes."
Throughout, though, said the coach, who realized his team had won, "we kept our composure." It had. Every time you looked up, the Bandits were blowing a lead, five of them to be exact: 2-0, 3-2, 4-3, 6-4 and 8-6.
Everyone save for the goalies had a ball, fattening up their offensive statistics. Maneluk, for instance, had a hat trick by shortly after mid-game and later added a fourth goal. Dwayne Norris picked up five assists, a club record.
Then there were Campbell and King. They combined for five goals but the effort was down on the list of credits, just ahead of Dave Sacco's goal and four assists.
The Bandits, scoring on three of five power-play opportunities in the first 40 minutes, left the ice with a 6-4 lead.
But with the resumption of play, they picked up three quick penalties to hand the visitors two man-advantage scores and a tie. Maybe they didn't know who was ahead.
NOTE: With 150 hours and 50-plus appearances at charitable and educational events, backup goalie Byron Penstock is the Bandits' nominee for the AHL-CCM Man of the Year award for community involvement.
Pub Date: 3/30/96
Opponent: Albany River Rats
Site: Knickerbocker Arena, Albany, N.Y.
Radio: WITH (1230 AM), WAMD (970 AM).
Outlook: Despite the won-lost records -- Albany was 49-16-5, Baltimore 26-35-9 after 70 games -- the Bandits gave the Rats all they could handle in their only previous engagement, a 4-3 Albany victory in overtime. After hitting the 100-point mark March 17, the Rats have split their past four games.