On the night he scored his 500th NHL goal, Dino Ciccarelli estimated that among the total were "three that qualified as pretty goals, maybe four." That's pretty much the way it was for the Bandits as they recovered from an 0-2 start at home and won two with a tie during a road trip.
"We haven't been fancy, just hard-working," said coach Moe Mantha of wins at Hamilton and Providence and a tie in Binghamton. "We're not trying to make the pretty pass. Guys have been jamming the net and most of our goals have come on rebounds," not picture-perfect thunderbolts from the blue line, or brilliant end-to-end forays by individuals.
"Against Providence [8-5], the [Sean] Pronger-[Craig] Reichert line got us going," Mantha said. "Before that, it was the [Dave] Sacco-[Chris] Herperger-[Mike]Leclerc line. You love to see that, different guys stepping up every game."
Now, if when Binghamton comes to town Friday night, the coach can somehow convince the troops that it's not the Baltimore Arena, but the Harbour Station Knickerbocker Aiken University Coliseum they're playing in.
Pushing the limit
You might say wing Gilbert Dionne cut things pretty close the other night in the process of keeping his 21-game point-scoring streak alive for the Carolina Monarchs. The young veteran (just turned 26), who has his name on the Stanley Cup as a member of 1993 Montreal Canadiens and who calls Hall of Famer Marcel Dionne "brother," picked up an assist with just one second remaining in a 4-2 victory over Kentucky on Saturday. Going back to last season, Dionne has 44 points (21 goals, 23 assists) in those 21 games.
A dubious conclusion
The East Coast Hockey League, which didn't bother with a five-minute sudden-death overtime period to break ties last season, but went directly to a shootout, is going that way again, even though its the only league in pro hockey with that format. It does do away with ties, but some wonder why a short overtime period isn't played first, giving teams a chance to win hockey games by playing hockey.
There were times last year when Chris Herperger would have seemed the perfect understudy for Claude Raines in the movie "The Invisible Man." In 21 regular-season games after shipping in from Hershey, Herperger had two goals, three assists and a minus-10 on his report card. In other words, his play was uneventful until he smacked in a big goal in an overtime win in Hershey during the playoffs.
After just five Bandits games this season, Herperger has four goals and repeatedly has come in for high praise from Mantha.
"We need more players like him," Mantha said. "I hope the other guys watch the way he works. He's playing hard every shift, practicing hard and doing everything you want out of a player."
Crowd for the books
It turns out that the throng of 17,503 that showed up to see the expansion Kentucky Thoroughblades in their league debut a while back scored an exacta: Not only was it the largest crowd to witness a game in an AHL arena (16,224 showed up at the Greensboro Coliseum last year), it was the largest ever, period. Back in '89, 17,446 showed up to watch Adirondack and Haymarket at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
AHL Player of the Week nominees recently included Svejkovsky, Vladimir Vorobiev, Peter Sidorkiewicz and David Nemirovsky. Sounds like a law firm in Minsk. The Phantoms drew 9,166 in their first game at the Philadelphia Spectrum. Maybe the ticket NTC prices ($7 to $14, or about a third what the Flyers charge across the street) had something to do with it.
Pub Date: 10/17/96