Bears roar back, beat Bandits, 7-5 Hershey fights back from three goals down

April 25, 1996|By Phil Jackman | Phil Jackman,SUN STAFF

HERSHEY, Pa. -- Seriously, did anyone think the proud Hershey Bears were going to roll over and play dead in their best-of-5 playoff series with the Bandits?

They gave a pretty good imitation of just that by losing the first two games and twice last night falling behind Baltimore by three goals.

The second time, with less than a minute remaining in the second period, the Bears, as the joke goes, had the Bandits right where they wanted them: perhaps a tad overconfident.

Cruising 5-2, the Bandits did a lot of watching as Hershey peppered five unanswered goals into the net and triumphed, 7-5.

"We still control the series," coach Walt Kyle told his troops of the team's 2-1 edge in the best-of-5. "This gives us a chance to wrap it up at home [tomorrow] and, if not there, back here Sunday."

He was hoping, of course, to get this one out of the minds of his players as quickly as possible. "I don't think this one will stick with them, because we've lost some tough ones and played from behind all year."

Another thing is the Bandits have not played with many leads, especially ones as seemingly comfortable as this one appeared. "I never really thought we'd be able to sweep [the Bears]. What all of us were looking at is at least we had the opportunity to do it [last night]. I'll tell you, some of our young guys became shaky out there as we closed in. But that's to be expected. It's all part of experience," Kyle said.

When Hershey finally started its charge, there was no subtlety involved. The Bandits found themselves tied as the Bears scored three times in just over five minutes.

After Bruce Coles, Mike McHugh and Jim Montgomery had wiped out all the solid work of the Bandits over the first 40 minutes, the Bears got the winning goal from Scott Morrow just as the Bandits were failing to convert a power play for the first time.

Until the dramatic turnaround, the Bandits looked almost unstoppable.

Speed was the story as the Bandits rolled out to their commanding advantage. While it was the Bears who were expected to be honked high, it was the Bandits who came out of the locker room flying, scoring the first two goals in each of the first two periods. The way Baltimore had been playing defense and Mike O'Neill had been tending goal, it seemed like enough.

During their charge to the front, Baltimore got yeoman work out of all three forward lines. especially the third line of Sean Pronger centering Jim Campbell and Jeremy Stevenson. The latter banged in two goals on rebounds, and Pronger another with Campbell assisting.

Pub Date: 4/25/96

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