Herperger steps up for Bandits in 3-2 victory He wins faceoff, scores in 3rd period vs. Monarchs

November 04, 1996|By Phil Jackman | Phil Jackman,SUN STAFF

The situation did not look promising when the Bandits went a man down against the Carolina Monarchs with the score tied in the third period last night.

Sure, there was lots of time remaining, about 17 minutes, but both teams were finishing up their fourth AHL game in five days, plus travel, and good scoring chances did not abound.

Enter Chris Herperger, taking the faceoff for the Bandits at the circle to the right of the Carolina goal.

Quick as you can say, "He shoots, he scores," Herperger won the draw and pushed the puck ahead to his left.

"Their defenseman didn't go for it, so I did a loop and grabbed it. As I moved toward the goal, somebody was in back pulling on me, but I was able to get the puck out front and lift it with my backhand," he said.

The goal, Herperger's second of the night and eighth of the season, gave the home team a 3-2 victory and sent the Monarchs off on a seven-hour bus ride home carrying an eight-game winless streak (0-7-1).

Things have been rough for Carolina for a couple of weeks now, but coach Rich Kromm wasn't about to let the defensive lapse slip by "because Baltimore was in the same boat as us with all the games.

"Here we've got a chance to win a game with a power play and we end up losing it on that play. That's bad."

Herperger's intention, since his club was in the process of killing a penalty, was to push the puck deeper and fall back. "But if you can win a draw," he said, "quite often you can get possession back and maybe make a play." That's exactly what happened. With an announced crowd of 2,004 on hand at the Baltimore Arena -- they must have counted everyone driving by on Baltimore Street between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. -- two tired squads and almost total silence for long stretches, this was almost a non-game.

"It was there for the taking," said Kromm, "and I give the Bandits credit -- they played a smart, simple game. They were sound, especially in the second period when we got outplayed badly."

It didn't show on the scoreboard, though, both teams getting a goal apiece in each of the first two periods. "After last night [a weak, 5-2 loss in Hershey], we responded with a good, solid game," said Bandits coach Moe Mantha. "We were tired, but kept battling. That'll do it a lot of times."

Entering, the Monarchs had shown a propensity for slow starts, getting outscored, 15-6, in the first 20 minutes of 11 games. Dave Nemirovsky scored for the visitors after just 37 seconds, the quickest game-opening goal ever against the Bandits.

Herperger got that one back. Rookie Jamie Spencer gave the Bandits the lead early in the second period, but Gilbert Dionne equalled for Carolina. It was now down to the play by Herperger and the little matter of holding onto the lead over the last 17 minutes.

No problem this time. The Bandits didn't go into their prevent defense. They gave nearly as well as they took. Over the last five minutes, the puck was in the Monarchs' zone as much as it was in the zone of the Bandits.

The Sean Pronger-Craig Reichert-Ryan Sittler line of the Bandits was particularly adept at scooting here and there, dumping the puck where a teammate could get to it first and otherwise killing time. Then there was Mike Bales in goal. Only two of 30 shots got past him as he evened his record at 5-5-2.

Pub Date: 11/04/96

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