Bandits' hard work pays in 6-3 win Nikulin's two vs. Amerks help end road frustrations

November 28, 1996|By Dan Hickling | Dan Hickling,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- On A day when more Americans are traveling than on any other in the year, the Bandits found their particular travels to be most rewarding. They ended six weeks of road frustration last night by skating into the inhospitable Rochester War Memorial and emerging with a well-earned, 6-3 win over the Amerks.

Newcomer Igor Nikulin scored twice for the Bandits, and goaltender Tom Askey, was strong in turning away 39 of 42 Rochester shots.

Baltimore's last road win came on Oct. 13, the night of its 8-5 trouncing of the Bruins in Providence. That's eight games worth of losing streak. On the other hand, The red-hot Amerks sported a run of their own. They were unbeaten in six straight, and had lost just two of their previous 13 starts, and only one all year.

But the Bandits took an early lead and, except for a 34-second stretch in the second period, they never relinquished it.

The Bandits took a 2-1 lead out of a fight-filled (five skirmishes) first period.

Rochester set the tone early, peppering Askey in the opening minutes. But Askey, making only his third appearance of the season, held up.

"That's just part of my job," said, Askey, who is from nearby Tonawanda, N.Y. "I don't know if they had confidence in me, but I have confidence in them."

Having been given ample cause for faith in their young goalie, the Bandits shocked Rochester with their early double strike against rookie Amerks goalie Frederic Deschenes.

Nikulin scored at 3: 12 after Jamie Spencer had sent him racing across the blue line, with Rochester defenseman Terry Hollinger trying unsuccessfully to bump Nikulin off the puck. Nikulin found space between Deschenes' pads with a low drive from the high slot.

Just 1: 32 later, Peter Leboutillier redirected a weak shot by Mike Leclerc that never got to Deschenes. The goaltender set himself to meet Leclerc's attempt, then couldn't recover, and Leboutillier slammed the puck into the open side.

"That was the whole message of the game," said Bandits coach Moe Mantha. "Shoot and drive to the net."

The Bandits' defense played well, holding Rochester at bay until midway through the period when a holding penalty to Brian Corcoran put the Amerks on the power play, Wayne Primeau scoring.

Pub Date: 11/28/96

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