Bandits' road losing streak reaches six at Hamilton, 3-1 Pronger's 3rd-period goal prevents another shutout

November 08, 1996|By Garry McKay | Garry McKay,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

HAMILTON, Ontario -- It's small consolation for the Bandits, but at least they scored a goal last night.

The Bandits' road losing streak was stretched to six games with a 3-1 loss to the Hamilton Bulldogs at Copps Coliseum.

For the Bandits, who have been shut out twice this season, including Wednesday night in Hershey, Pa., it was another game of lackluster offense and only Sean Pronger's goal just more than four minutes into the third period avoided back-to-back shutouts.

By the time Pronger slid a backhand under Hamilton goaltender Peter Skudra, the Bandits had gone almost 120 minutes -- the equivalent of two games -- without scoring.

The Bandits, who are 1-6-1 when they don't score first, could have, and probably should have, been in big trouble after the first period.

Only 1: 47 into the game, defenseman Byron Briske allowed Marko Tuomainen to slip to the edge of the crease. Teammate Steve Kelly threw a perfect pass across the front of the net to Tuomainen, who quickly shot it past Mike Bales before he could move.

Bales, who has played in every game for the Bandits, saved them thereafter. Although the Bandits had more shots (12-7), it wasn't indicative of the game's flow.

Bales was forced to make spectacular saves on Kelly off another net-mouth quick shot and then off Rob Trumbley, who teed up a slap shot from the slot on the ensuing faceoff.

Craig Reichert had the Bandits' best scoring opportunity of the opening 20 minutes but Skudra was able to get a pad in front of his shot from the faceoff circle.

The Bandits continued to have trouble leaving Hamilton forwards unguarded at the back door in the second period.

The Bandits had killed a penalty to Dan Trebil when Hamilton's Jason Bonsignore sneaked in, took a perfect pass from Ralph Intranuovo, deked Bales and slid the puck into the net.

It was one of only five shots the Bulldogs had in the second, although Bales was forced to stop Intranuovo on a breakaway while the Bandits were on a power play.

The Bandits had only nine shots on Skudra but the Hamilton goaltender had to come up with pretty solid glove saves on Jamie Spencer and Pavel Trnka.

Pronger got his AHL-leading 10th goal of the season early in the third. But Skudra, who had given up just eight goals in his past four games, shut the door on the Bandits thereafter.

Joe Hulbig restored Hamilton's two-goal cushion just more than two minutes later when he broke down the right wing, faked a pass and drilled a shot between Bales' legs.

Last night's game was the third of four meetings between the teams. They don't play again until Jan. 5 in Baltimore. Carolina visits the Bandits tonight.

Pub Date: 11/08/96

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