League's third time around in Charm City not so charming

April 10, 1997|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

A conservative estimate is that after previous experiences with Baltimore -- one, two, three strikes, yer out! -- the American Hockey League isn't likely to return to the city before the fourth millennium is reached, which will probably be just in time for the new arena downtown.

The going price for AHL franchises is $2 million and that's what an Ohio group headed by Cincinnati Gardens owner Jerry Robinson will be handing over for the Bandits shortly. Tentative approval for the sale has been given by the league's board of governors.

The Bandits got a good franchise-fee deal from the league two years ago, $100,000 per annum for 10 years. About six months later, the AHL had to order owners Bob Teck and Alan Gertner to sell. Things were in such disarray and, although run in a more orderly fashion, things haven't improved under Mike Caggiano. The money received from the sale won't begin to cover the losses accrued in the last year.

Also, the league originally gave a cut-rate franchise fee to Baltimore and will end up getting just 70 cents on the dollar -- $700,000, not $1 million.

Year of the goalie?

Worcester won a game in Providence last Friday, 3-2; the losing Bruins unloaded an awesome 66 shots (21-18-27 by period) on goal. Rookie Travis Scott made the 64 saves. Next night, Providence's rookie goalie Derek Herlofsky blanked the IceCats on the road, 1-0, and, the day after that, blanked Fredericton, 3-0, to clinch a playoff spot for his team.

Speaking of great goaltending, with a week to go, there have been a record 58 shutouts in the AHL this season, Hershey leading the way with eight, St. John and Hamilton trailing the pack with one apiece. The Bandits have four: Mike Bales 3, Tom Askey 1. Besides posting at least 30 victories, J. F. Labbe (33-19-11) of Hershey, Neil Little (31-10-8) of Philadelphia, Peter Sidorkiewicz (31-22-7) and Norm Maracle (31-22-7) of Adirondack will finish with goals-against averages under 3.00.

A couple of familiar names to Baltimore fans, Reggie Savage (27-25-52) and Mike Maneluk (26-25-51), currently rank first and second, respectively, for Springfield and Worcester in scoring.

A little thing like a 9-1 loss to Rochester on Sunday didn't stop Hamilton RW Dennis Bonvie from picking up 18 minutes and setting an all-time league mark for penalty minutes: 501 in 71 games.

Miscellaneous

Imagine the surprise St. John's fans will have on April 19-20 when they show up for a first-round playoff game and their top goalie Don Beaupre, 24-16-4 with four shutouts, isn't playing. Beaupre, who owns 268 NHL victories, will finish the regular season with the Maple Leafs, then he heads for Utah and the IHL playoffs. The five other goaltenders St. John's has utilized this season have combined for a 10-16-8 record.

Good news for Bandits faithful: All tickets for home playoff games at the Arena are $10, the usual $2 additional tack-on to regular-season prices being dispensed with, according to Caggiano, "to let our loyal fans know we appreciate their patronage." Assuming the Bandits make it, they play host to potent Philadelphia on April 23 and April 25 (if necessary) in an opening-round best-of-five.

The five goals Sebastien Bordeleau racked up against Portland on Saturday won him the AHL Player of the Week award. Other award winners: Rochester C Curtis Brown, March Rookie of the Month (eight goals, 11 assists in 15 games) and Adirondack G Norm Maracle, Goaltender of the Month (8-3-1 for the month.)

Springfield is 12-0-3 in its past 15 home games and is 25-8-6 heading into its home finale against Worcester tomorrow. The Arena has a new Zamboni. Just in time, right?

Pub Date: 4/10/97

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