Bandits fail to capitalize in 2-1 loss IceCats weary, but hosts unable to wake up in time

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

Wins don't figure to come that easily for the Bandits this season. But if a situation ever looked promising for the team, it occurred last evening. At home against a team admittedly tired, mentally whipped and carrying on without its top player, the Bandits should have been all over the Worcester IceCats.

"We did start playing like we're supposed to in the second period," said Bandits coach Moe Mantha, "but by then we had given up any advantage we might have had."

Thus, in a slow-moving, often sloppy affair, Worcester won out, 2-1, ending its three-game losing streak while providing the same for the home team.

"It has been a mentally and physically demanding trip, so our plan was to keep things simple," said IceCats coach Greg Gilbert of his team's two games in Philadelphia and one in Hershey before coming to Baltimore.

"We didn't have a lot of chances the way their goalie [Mike Bales] was playing. When we got that power play at the end of the second period, I kind of felt it might be our chance."

The score was tied at 1 when Brian Corcoran was detected slashing behind the Bandits' goal. Less than five seconds remained in the session, but the visitors weren't just going to go through the motions for that short period of time.

"Stephane Roy's been doing a good job for us on faceoffs and I sent Jason Zent out because he has that quick wrist shot," the coach explained.

It was as if he had diagrammed it on the board: Roy got the draw toward Zent, who got control and flicked the puck past Bales at 19: 58.

"That's a good team," Mantha said of the IceCats, "but we gave them too much respect. We sat around and watched them in the first period."

Still, it was tied at a goal apiece after 20 minutes, despite the fact the visitors had outshot the Bandits 12-4.

"You have to go after a team in that situation, but I guess we're still learning that," said Mantha, who tried to explain to his forwards after the game that when goals are not coming, the worst thing a player can do is to stop shooting.

"Guys get discouraged. They shy away from shooting. They're looking to pass too much. There's only one way out of it: shoot and drive to the net."

Indicating how troubled the Bandits' forwards have become during the 5-1 and 5-0 losses in Carolina last Thursday and Friday and last night, during the third period they accounted for just one of the eight shots credited to the team.

In the midst of the attempt to tie the score, the Bandits were treated to a four-minute power play after former teammate Mike Maneluk was hit with a double high-sticking penalty.

"The call put a charge into our guys," said Gilbert.

The Bandits got only four shots during the four-minute stretch, and only one of those was really threatening -- goalie Travis Scott was up to making a brilliant, glove-handed stab of a bullet from the mid-slot.

Pub Date: 11/25/96

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