Rochester shuts down punchless Bandits, 3-1 Rival for playoff spot wins on special teams


Bandits coach Walt Kyle dragged out one of the verities of his sport last night when he said, "You don't win very often when you score one goal."

That's right, short rations were the menu for Baltimore again as the home team was losing an important game to the Rochester Americans, 3-1. The Amerks are one of four teams the Bandits XTC have to beat out to make the AHL playoffs.

"Thing is," continued Kyle, "we're playing our rears off right now, giving up just a couple of goals most of the time, but we just can't score.

"We're not going to win many if we don't get players [from the NHL parent club Anaheim], and it doesn't look as if we're going to get any help."

So defense, defense and good goaltending will continue as the order of the day, week and month unless some of the forwards remember how to score.

"Somebody has to step up. We've got a couple of guys who can do it," Kyle said.

Rochester, which had a tough time of it early in the season, according to coach John Tortorella, is clicking now.

"That's seven out of nine we've won, and the key is we seem to have found a level of consistency," said Tortorella,

The Amerks held to their formula for success against the Bandits -- namely, getting the jump. In its two previous victories over the Bandits, Rochester jumped out to 3-0 leads in the first period. This time, it took Rochester a lot longer, the score standing at 2-0 after 15 minutes of the second period, but Baltimore's defense is a lot better these days.

"We lost it on special teams," said Kyle. "We stopped them on five of six power plays, which is good, but we were 0-for-4."

Rob Conn, who started the year with the Buffalo Sabres but got little playing time there, scored his 17th goal in 20 games with the Amerks and assisted on the goal by Barrie Moore. An oddity, the Moore goal came in the midst of a line change by the victors. The Bandits cut their deficit in half with just 70 seconds left in the middle session, with Denny Lambert converting a nice pass from Slava Butsayev from the goalmouth.

The Bandits got a power play opportunity in the last 2:30, but it fizzled and Moore grabbed his second goal of the evening by hitting an empty net with two seconds left.

NOTES: The Bandits are in Portland tomorrow, pick up Binghamton on Sunday on the way home, then play the Rangers here Monday in a Presidents Day game at 5 p.m. It starts a string of seven straight home games in 16 days. . . . Last Saturday, there were six games in the AHL and five were decided by one goal, two going to overtime. Yes, games are getting tighter late in the season.

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