Monarchs put Bandits on hold, 4-1 Loss costs chance to clinch playoff spot

April 06, 1996|By Phil Jackman | Phil Jackman,SUN STAFF

The Bandits could have clinched a playoff spot and eliminated Carolina with a victory at the Arena last night. But when's the last time this team did anything the easy way?

The Monarchs, who have given up the most goals in the American Hockey League, turned in a strong checking game and never trailed after Mike Burkett scored early on the way to a 4-1 victory.

So, shortly after the horn had sounded, the teams were on buses headed for Greensboro, N.C., where Baltimore again will attempt to cement third place in the Southern Division tonight.

"We played a pretty good game, things being equal when we were playing full strength until the very end," said Bandits coach Walt Kyle. "They beat us on special teams with a power-play goal and that short-handed goal."

At the same time, the coach noticed a less-than-laudable "attitude out there. It was as if we expected them to give us the game."

The turnout of 4,013 didn't have much to cheer about until 46 minutes had gone by.

With the Bandits trailing 2-0, Jim Campbell hit his 38th goal after he and Slava Butsayev had played the shell game in front of Monarchs goalie Kevin Weekes.

The Monarchs got the insurance they needed five minutes later when Burkett scored his second goal, on a power play. The penalty (tripping) was on Mike O'Neill, who, with his 71st appearance, moved within one of the league's single-season mark for games played by a goaltender.

Carolina got a concession goal with 1: 28 left, with Todd Harkins picking up his 27th of the season.

It was the play of his attack lines, though, that impressed Monarchs coach Rich Kromm.

"Mike Burkett and Mike Casselman had big games checking. They [the Bandits] had trouble penetrating our zone and, early in the game, Kevin Weekes made saves to hold us together."

The Monarchs are 6-3-2 over the Bandits heading into tonight's final meeting, but it is Baltimore with the magic number of one.

NOTES -- Dave Sacco (foot) and Steve King (lacerated eye) were missing from the Bandits' lineup again. . . . Tickets for home playoff games go on sale Monday at the Arena and via TicketMaster. . . . New D Chris Phelps showed up here from Hampton Roads of the ECHL with a broken jaw. Of course he's playing. . . . Wednesday's home finale vs. Hershey will be Harvest for the Hungry Night, with fans requested to contribute nonperishable food items.

Bandits tonight

Opponent: Carolina Monarchs

Site: Greensboro (N.C.) Coliseum

Time: 7: 30

Radio: WITH (1230 AM), WAMD (970 AM)

Outlook: The Bandits take another shot at qualifying for the playoffs (and a first-round meeting with the Hershey Bears) while at the same time eliminating the Monarchs. The Bandits are better against Carolina at the Greensboro Coliseum than at home, 1-2-2 as opposed to 2-4. Dave Sacco (injured foot) is expected to play for Baltimore, which has been thin at center beyond Slava Butsayev. Mike O'Neill will start for the Bandits, tying him for the league record for appearances by a goaltender (72).

Pub Date: 4/06/96

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