Banham scores 4 goals, but Bandits settle for tie T'blades' goal in last 0: 50 nets 4-4 tie in Kentucky

March 28, 1997|By Mark Maloney | Mark Maloney,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Frank Banham scored all four Baltimore goals as the Bandits tied the Kentucky Thoroughblades, 4-4, last night, moving a point closer to clinching a playoff berth.

The Bandits, playing their ninth straight road game, could have made it a two-point win if not for Sean Haggerty's sixth-attacker score for Kentucky with 50.9 seconds left.

The Bandits (26-35-8) lead Carolina by eight points for the final playoff spot in the Southern Conference. Baltimore has eight games remaining, Carolina 10.

"I was definitely in the right place at the right time," said Banham, who had eight of Baltimore's 34 shots on net. "I got some great passes from Craig Reichert and Nikolai Tsulygin."

Banham, who has a nine-game point streak, now has 11 goals in 19 games with the Bandits. He also has played three games with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, but missed more than half the season because of stomach surgery.

Three of his goals last night came on power plays, two of those five-on-three situations. The last of those, with Kentucky's Dan Ceman and Dean Grillo off the ice, gave the Bandits a 4-3 lead at 11: 16 of the third period. Kentucky pulled goalie Jamie Ram with 1: 17 left, and Haggerty made the strategy pay off.

A flukish bounce off the glass near the blue line sent the puck bouncing over the stick of Bob Wren when he tried to clear it from the right circle. The puck continued to Haggerty, who was alone in the slot. Kentucky leads the season series 8-0-3, with the finale set in Rupp Arena tonight.

"You get a lucky bounce off the glass, and that's the bounces of the game," Bandits coach Moe Mantha said. "I still think it's a big point for us. We played hard, we worked hard."

Dean Grillo, Jason Strudwick and Alexei Yegorov also scored for Kentucky (34-29-9). Banham opened the scoring 8: 11 into the first period. Kentucky tied it on Grillo's power-play score exactly three minutes later.

Banham scored the only goal of the second period, at 8: 07, with the T'blades two men down.

Tsulygin, working from the right circle, set up Banham with a backdoor pass. Ram had no chance to stop Banham's one-timer. Tsulygin and Wren, who assisted on Banham's first score, each have at least one point in their last seven games.

Banham made it 3-1 at 2: 52 of the third, with Fredrik Oduya in the box for holding. After Haggerty's score tied the game, the Bandits nearly won in regulation. David Sacco slipped the puck past Ram an instant after the final horn.

Tom Askey made 31 saves in the Bandits' net, including a sharp backhander by Yegorov with 1: 31 left in overtime.

Bandits tonight

Opponent: Kentucky Thoroughblades

Site: Rupp Arena, Lexington, Ky.

Time: 7:30

Radio WWLG (1360 AM), WASA (1330 AM)

Outlook: With the first round of the division playoffs all but set -- Philadelphia (1) vs. Bandits (4) and Hershey (2) vs. Kentucky (3) -- the remainder of the season is for getting all hands healthy. The Bandits feature just bumps and bruises right now, no debilitating injuries or broken bones.

Pub Date: 3/28/97

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