Bandits are defenseless against Americans, 10-6 Stevenson's three goals can't stem Rochester tide

March 04, 1997|By Phil Jackman | Phil Jackman,SUN STAFF

After bad losses, Bandits coach Moe Mantha has been known to take long walks.

Did anyone catch sight of a forlorn-looking guy trooping alongside downtown streets last night?

Target practice, that's what this game turned out to be. The Rochester Americans reeled off a pair of four-goal barrages, the second requiring less than eight minutes in the third period, as they drilled the Bandits, 10-6, before a polite gathering of 1,317 at Baltimore Arena last night.

Lost in the performance of the home team was a hat trick by Jeremy Stevenson, who doubled his pre-game yield of three goals in 15 games in Baltimore this season.

"You know, there was talk of this game being switched to the new Marine Midland Arena in Buffalo," said Rochester coach John Tortorella.

Too bad they weren't able to pull it off.

Half of the league's 18 teams were averaging more goals per game than the Amerks prior to Sunday, when the defending Calder Cup champs smashed Kentucky, 8-2. Their eight- and 10-goal blitzes were their top outputs of the season.

"Yeah, it's March, so I just told the guys, 'Turn it on, boys,' " Tortorella said. "Believe me, it's not coaching. In fact, probably the best strategy I've had lately is giving guys time off.

"We were off for seven days last week and I gave 'em a couple of days, had 'em on the bikes, then had another light practice. Sunday [against Kentucky], they were raring to go. They didn't even mind the bus ride down here. A quick trip over to Buffalo would have been better, though."

After 14 minutes, it appeared as if the Bandits were picking up where they left off Sunday, when they beat the league's best team, Philadelphia, 4-2.

But a huge defensive lapse cost them a goal when Curt Brown picked up an unattended puck and whizzed it past Bandits goalie Tom Askey after just four minutes.

Goals by Frank Banham and Stevenson, the fourth for each, put the home team on top, 2-1, with four minutes remaining in the period. Then the roof, another name for the defense, caved in.

Jay Moser of the Americans hit at 16: 13, Terry Hollinger matched that goal 37 seconds later and Terry Yake sent his club off with a 4-2 lead with his 24th goal at 19: 39.

The visitors didn't even take a shot in the first 10 minutes of the middle session. When they finally did, it went in for a 5-2 lead.

Pub Date: 3/04/97

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