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No-time Bandits steal off to Rochester after first win Road game leaves team no chance to celebrate franchise breakthrough


At least the Baltimore Bandits didn't wear themselves out celebrating the franchise's first win, which came Wednesday night on home ice. There wasn't time.

No sooner was a lively practice out of the way yesterday than it was time to grab a window seat for a glorious bus ride through the fall foliage to Rochester, N.Y.

The trip was accomplished much faster than originally thought. Ah, the sweet smell of success.

It could be short-lived, however, because the Bandits take on the Americans tonight. The Rochester franchise always seems to have inordinate success against any Baltimore franchise, no matter what its nickname.

Still singing the praises of many of his young veterans who turned their performances around during the 4-3 triumph over the Worcester IceCats, coach Walt Kyle sounded a note of caution about his team's erratic defense.

Kyle's words to live by are "be aggressive on offense from a strong defensive position."

Only trouble is, with no less than five defensemen qualifying as AHL rookies, the Bandits don't have enough experienced defensemen to pair with these people for the purpose of helping develop them.

The search is still on for help in this department.

Against Worcester, goalie Mike O'Neill was required to make 16 stops in the third period as Baltimore clung desperately to the lead.

O'Neill barely got a chance to stand up straight, because for the third straight game the Bandits were outshot by the opposition. In a half-dozen games to date, opponents have taken 43 more shots than the Bandits.

O'Neill calls it "all part of the learning process."

Ahead 3-1 with eight minutes remaining against the Icecats, the Bandits were scurrying frantically to hold on as Worcester pressured.

4 "You go on stretches like that," said the coach.

The Bandits head for Ontario and a game against the Cornwall Aces tomorrow night.

Bandits tonight

Opponent: Rochester Americans

Site: War Memorial Auditorium, Rochester, N.Y.

Time: 7:35

Radio: WITH (1230 AM)

Outlook: The Bandits, infused with a fresh jolt of confidence after posting their first franchise victory Wednesday, face a Rochester team that is 3-2-2 and in a three-way tie for first place in the AHL's most competitive division, the Central.

The Americans are fourth in scoring in the 18-team AHL and figure to pose a strong threat to the often-porous Bandits defense.

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