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Rochester's early goals rip struggling Bandits, 5-2 Another defeat on road puts team's record at 1-5-1


ROCHESTER, N. Y. -- The Baltimore Bandits played nip-and-tuck hockey with the Rochester Americans last night -- for about the first 10 minutes of their American Hockey League contest.

Unfortunately for Baltimore, the Americans spent the rest of the period tucking pucks behind rookie goalie Byron Penstock.

Rochester topped the Bandits, 5-2, last night before 5,344 fans at the Rochester War Memorial Auditorium, lowering Baltimore's record to 1-5-1 in its inaugural AHL season. It was the Bandits' fifth game on the road.

The Bandits were beaten all over the ice in the opening stanza -- in the corners, in front of the crease and, most importantly, on the scoreboard. Rochester scored three goals in a 5-minute first period flurry, and by the time the Bandits caught their breaths they were out of the game.

"We just fell asleep for the first nine or 10 minutes," said Bandits forward Steven King. "We played well the rest of the game and calmed things down, but we blew it in the beginning of the game."

They did make it close for a while. Jerrod Skalde notched his first goal of the season with Baltimore on a two-man advantage to cut the lead to 3-1 with less than a minute in the first period.

The Bandits opened the second period scoring when Nikolai Tsulygin bounced a puck off the boards onto Skalde's stick. Skalde pushed the puck under Robb Stauber to pull Baltimore within one.

The Bandits would get no closer. Craig Charron's breakaway goal late in the second period, his second tally of the night, cemented the win for Rochester.

Skalde would not get a chance to go for the hat trick. He was tossed out of the game after high-sticking a Rochester forward in the face with just seconds to go in the second period.

Skalde, who said the incident was purely accidental, played his best hockey of the season, after notching just one assist in the first six games. He torched American Hockey League goalies three years ago when he played in Utica, and the Bandits expect big things from him this year.

"We have got to get our offense going," coach Walt Kyle said. "We have got to be able to score more than two or three goals to beat teams in this league."

Penstock, the rookie goalie, has given up nine goals in just 3 1/2 periods of hockey this season, but he was not the sole cause of Baltimore's defensive woes.

"I did not pull him because of the way he was playing," Kyle said. "Number one, I did it to charge the team up and try to get them back in the game, and number two, I did it because he is a very young goalie and I don't want him to lose his confidence."

The Bandits defense did a weak job of clearing the crease, and the Americans had several two-on-ones, and in the case of Rochester's third goal, a two-on-nobody.

Baltimore 1 1 0 -- 2

Rochester 3 1 1 -- 5

Bandits tonight

Opponent: Cornwall Aces

Site: Cornwall (Ontario) Civic Center

Time: 7:30

Radio: WITH (1230 AM)

Outlook: The Aces are off to a poor start this season, winning just one of their first six games. This comes as a surprise because the farm team of the Colorado Avalanche (formerly Quebec Nordiques) was among the top six in the AHL last year with a 38-33-9 mark and 85 points. The Bandits are getting comfortable on the road, this being their sixth game as visitors in eight games played.

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