Bandits force Monarchs to overtime, but fall, 4-3 Mantha glad to leave N.C. with 3 of possible 4 points

March 26, 1997|By Todd Taylor | Todd Taylor,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The Bandits had a chance to possibly apply the coup de grace on the Carolina Monarchs' fading playoff hopes last night.

The Bandits didn't accomplish that exactly, but they did dim Carolina's postseason chances a bit by yielding only one point in the standings in a 4-3 overtime loss.

Trailing 3-1 with seven minutes remaining, Baltimore scored twice -- including Mike LeClerc's goal with 55 seconds left -- to force overtime. The Bandits appeared headed for a tie that would certainly feel more like a win.

But Gilbert Dionne scored with 10 seconds left in overtime to give Carolina the victory and two points. But with the Bandits getting a point for the overtime loss and having rallied from a 5-1 deficit to beat the Monarchs Sunday, the win was barely life support for Carolina.

Baltimore leads by seven points with nine games to play, although the Monarchs do have a game in hand.

"We didn't deserve to get the point we got tonight," said Bandits coach Moe Mantha. "Carolina played a very strong game, and it was only the goaltending of Mike Bales [38 saves] that even kept us in it.

"But we came in here and got three out of a possible four points. We have to be pretty happy with that."

Trailing 3-1 late in the final period, the Bandits got back into the game when Bob Wren made a nice pass across the crease to LeClerc, who drew the Bandits within a goal.

Carolina held that lead until the final minute, when the Bandits pulled Bales to gain the man advantage. Frank Banham capitalized, pouncing on a loose puck in front of the net to knot the score.

The Monarchs, who blasted the Bandits' net all night, outshot Baltimore 16-5 in the first period, and 42-22 in the game, but had trouble getting the puck past Bales.

"It's very frustrating to give up a point after playing what I thought was a very strong game," said Monarchs coach Rich Kromm. "But we still have 10 games left, and we'll see these guys again, so this thing is not over by any means."

Pub Date: 3/26/97

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