Bandits make it easy for Beaupre, St. John's Veteran goaltender wins No. 24 for Maple Leafs, 5-2

March 31, 1997|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

Don Beaupre, over the course of 16 seasons of goaltending in the NHL, has 268 victories. Yesterday, he picked up win No. 24 this season for the St. John's Maple Leafs as they were pounding the Bandits, 5-2, in an American Hockey League game.

During those 292 wins plus 16 more here in Baltimore in the early '90s, Beaupre probably never had it easier than he did in this one. "There wasn't much doing out there," he said. "And when there was, I gave them a goal."

One shot is all the Bandits put on the Leafs goal in the first period and the "action" didn't pick up much in the second 20 minutes.

By the time Dave Sacco scored his 16th goal late in the second period, the Maple Leafs were leading 2-1. They put the game out of reach by scoring the next three goals.

"It's too bad," Bandits coach Moe Mantha said of his team's effort. "We come off a very good [6-3-1] road trip all set to show how much the team has improved and we play like that.

"Sure, we're tired and maybe a little burned out. But making matters worse, we played like we were brain dead. There isn't an aspect of the game St. John's didn't beat us at and beat us badly."

While it's true the Bandits are a better road team (15-18-5) than a home team (12-21-3), sometimes they get the idea they're treated no better than interlopers at home.

"When we showed up for our morning skate [yesterday], the ice wasn't ready. We've had a bunch of things like that happen here. Where's the respect for this team?" Mantha said.

Probably elsewhere, although Bandits owner Mike Caggiano says he has nothing to report concerning the sale of the team. "I might have something soon," said Caggiano.

With the Bandits rarely appearing in the St. John's end of the ice, maybe the Maple Leafs thought a goal late in the first period by Greg Bullock and one after the midpoint of the second period by Brian Wiseman would hold up.

Sacco threw a scare into them, however, and, 43 seconds later, Wiseman, fourth-highest scorer in the league with 33 goals and 58 assists, got it back. About six minutes remained when Igor Nikulin scored his 22nd goal for the home team.

The Bandits are off until Friday, when they play host to St. John's again. "That was a step backward," said Mantha. "We won't do that again Friday."

Pub Date: 3/31/97

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