Bears roar back, beat Bandits, 7-5 Hershey fights back from 3 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, less than a minute remained in the second period when the Bears started their comeback. Cruising 5-2, the Bandits suddenly found themselves tied as Hershey scored three times in just over five minutes.

Then the Bears just kept going as they prevailed, 7-5.

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 and their fourth unanswered goal from Scott Morrow just as the Bandits were failing to convert a power play for the first time.

Until the dramatic turnaround, sending the series back to the Baltimore Arena tomorrow night (7: 30), when Hershey still faces elimination, 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.

Its size and muscle unable to match the Bandits' quickness, Hershey often found it necessary to grab and tackle, which led to penalties, power plays and a couple of Bandits scores.

As opposed to a couple of weeks ago, when the Bandits were relying on the Slava Butsayev, Steve King, Denny Lambert line and individual contributions for its scoring, suddenly, the attack is spread over three lines.

The third trio of Sean Pronger centering Jim Campbell and Jeremy Stevenson began clicking, Stevenson banging in two goals, Pronger another with Campbell assisting.

Then the lights went out. After making several outstanding saves to keep his mates in it, the winning goal against O'Neill was probably the softest he has allowed in a month.

Morrow had been called for the penalty that put the Bandits on a power play, so it was he who came breaking out of the box to grab a pass from Todd Nelson. He shot from a tough angle from O'Neill's left and the puck found its way past the goalie at the near post.

Pub Date: 4/25/96

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