Bandits roll on road, beat Bears, 5-2, in AHL opener Game 2 is tonight at Baltimore Arena

April 20, 1996|By Phil Jackman | Phil Jackman,SUN STAFF

HERSHEY, Pa. -- The Bandits couldn't have asked for a better scenario in their opening American Hockey League playoff game against the Hershey Bears last night.

You want a hot goaltender? Mike O'Neill was that.

You want the guys who are supposed to score goals scoring goals? Coming right up.

You want an excellent effort out of a depleted defensive corps? Right on.

Baltimore took advantage of all of the above in a 5-2 victory before 2,874 in Hersheypark Arena.

Mike Maneluk, Steve King (twice), Jim Campbell and defenseman Bobby Marshall scored the goals as Baltimore won the opener of the best-of-five series and continued its excellent play on the road.

Tied in the second period of a surprisingly free-wheeling game, the Bandits got two goals in about five minutes time to assume a 3-1 lead.

The first was a Maneluk-Dwayne Norris connection, the second a Slava Butsayev-King hookup.

The former saw Baltimore's two top point scorers work a "game" with Maneluk giving and heading for the net and Norris returning the puck on his stick at the goal mouth.

Butsayev cleverly stick-handled his way through three Bears before the puck was left about 15 feet out and to Hershey goalie Neil Little's left. With a headlong dive, King was able to get his stick on it and direct it through two sets of legs and into the net.

The Bears cut their deficit in half with just two seconds remaining in the period, Bruce Coles sending a 50-foot pass to defenseman Aris Brimanis just as he arrived at the crease. He lifted it over a helpless O'Neill.

The lone goal in the first period was turned in by Marshall on a power play after just 5: 20 of play. Marshall had three goals during the season, all against the Bears, so it came as no surprise when he made it four-for-four.

There were still five minutes remaining in the game when O'Neill faced his 40th shot. No problem. All along O'Neill has said he doesn't mind the number of pucks sent his way as long as they're direct shots, bullets he can draw a bead on. He proved it with 43 saves, many of the spectacular variety.

King's empty netter closed out the scoring.

NOTE -- Game 2 is at Baltimore Arena tonight (7: 30) with the Bandits still hoping to get Dave Sacco back from a foot injury so he can be the setup man for Norris and Maneluk. He tried to go last night, but couldn't.

Bandits 1 2 2 -- 5

Hershey 0 2 0 -- 2

Pub Date: 4/20/96

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