Bandits reverse power for 2-1 win Aldridge, Pronger steal Carolina's late advantage

November 18, 1996|By Phil Jackman | Phil Jackman,SUN STAFF

The Carolina Monarchs should know by now: One of the worst things they can do late in the game is go on the power play against the Bandits.

As the eminent philosopher and backstop Lawrence P. Berra so aptly put it, it was deja vu all over again as the Bandits nipped the Monarchs, 2-1, yesterday in an AHL game at the Arena.

For long stretches, the play was as slow-moving as most of the folks in the announced crowd of 2,021, and it appeared the division rivals just might struggle to a 1-1 overtime tie.

"There was no doubt about it, the game was there just ready to be taken," said Bandits coach Moe Mantha. "That's when you're looking for a line or a guy to do something."

The guys in this case were Keith Aldridge and his penalty-killing partner, Sean Pronger.

"It was late when we got the penalty putting them on the power play and that pumped some energy into us to kill it off and force overtime," said Aldridge.

But just 40 seconds in, the home team had its break.

"I had forced the puck out to the point," said the rookie defenseman, "and Pronger was all over the guy. He had a weak shot and I stopped it way out. Suddenly, we had a three-on-two."

But there was a long way to go to the Carolina goal, well over two-thirds of the rink. "Pronger went wide [to the boards]," continued Aldridge, "and I headed for the net. The defenseman didn't go with me right off and I sort of snuck around and got in position."

Pronger's pass was perfect. "An NFL play," said Mantha.

"It was right on my stick about five feet in front of the goal. All I had to do is send it top shelf," said Aldridge.

It was the rookie's first goal of the season after he registered a hat trick in an exhibition game six weeks ago.

"Maybe this will get me going," said Aldridge, who is classified as an offensive defenseman. "I've had some tough luck; been watching tape and I think I've hit five posts so far this season."

It was back on Nov. 3 when the Monarchs and Bandits were in a 2-2 tie and Carolina was on a late power play. The bandits' Chris Herperger won a faceoff in the defensive zone and, when no Carolina defenseman reacted to the puck, he barged through and beat the goalie in close for the winner.

"At least we had a much better effort than Friday," said Carolina coach Rich Kromm, whose team is in the throes of a 0-11-1 nightmare. "We created a lot of opportunities but didn't get it because of [Bandits goalie] Mike Bales. We've got to solve him one of these games."

"What hurts is we came out and out-battled and out-hit them because we really want the two points," said Carolina forward Jason Podollan. "But one goal's never going to win you much."

The first 30 minutes were positively somnolent. Then, just 10 seconds apart, Craig Reichert scored for the Bandits and Ryan Johnson rushed to the other end and got it back for the visitors. Then there was nothing until the hooking call against Bandits defenseman Brian Corcoran with 2: 24 remaining in regulation.

Pub Date: 11/18/96

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