BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- To beat the Binghamton Rangers, you must limit their time on the power play. Plain and simple.
The Bandits allowed the American Hockey League's top power-play unit to have seven man advantages last night at the sold-out Broome County Arena, and fell 5-0 to the Rangers before 4,643 fans.
Baltimore was successful killing penalties in its first six meetings with Binghamton, limiting the Rangers to six goals on 36 chances. But the Southern Division-leading Rangers scored twice on the man advantage and just missed on numerous other opportunities to claim a 4-3 lead in their 12-game series with the Bandits.
"In order for us to be successful against Binghamton, we have to play disciplined hockey," Baltimore coach Walt Kyle said. "I told the guys before the game we can't afford to give them six or seven chances on the power play."
But they did, and the Rangers converted early. Binghamton scored three times in the last eight minutes of the first period to take control. Ken Gernander and Nathan LaFayette led the way for Binghamton with two goals apiece, and rookie goalie Ken Shepard stopped 33 shots to earn his first AHL shutout.
"[Steven] King took a stupid retaliation penalty and [Mike] Maneluk picked up a bad cross-checking penalty and they had a two-goal lead," Kyle said. "We were out of the game, essentially. Mentally, we never got in the game."
The Bandits had a chance to close the gap in the second period, spending four of the opening seven minutes on the power play. They failed to score on either man advantage however, and are 1-for-16 on the power play in their past three games.
Baltimore's scoring woes may have had something to do with the absence of their two leading scorers, J. F. Jomphe and Jim Campbell, who were recalled to Anaheim yesterday.
Kyle tried to plug Denny Lambert and Slava Butsayev into Jomphe's spot on Baltimore's top line, but neither seemed to mesh with Dwayne Norris and Maneluk on a night when ' Baltimore was shut out for the second time this season.
"This is a pivotal time for this team with the call-ups," Norris said. "We had some pretty standard lines for a long time, but now we're going to have to make some adjustments because guys are going to be going up and down the rest of the year.
Bandits ..... 0 .. 0 .. 0 .. -- .. 0
Binghamton .. 3 .. 1 .. 1 .. -- .. 5