HERSHEY, Pa. -- Just think, the Bandits get to do it all over again up here Wednesday night.
And, as if they needed it, the Hershey Bears will have added incentive, going for their ninth straight victory. If successful, they would match the runs of Hershey teams in 1973-74 and 1987-88, both of which claimed Calder Cup championships.
If you're into cliches, this one fits: If it were a boxing match, they would have stopped it. That's how dominant the Bears were last night while knocking off the Bandits for the third time this young season, 5-2.
The Bears have been doing a bunch of blistering lately, the victory being the eighth straight as they threaten to run off and hide from their Mid-Atlantic Division brethren.
The Bandits trailed 5-0 and hadn't put a shot on goal in the first 10 minutes of the third period when Bob Wren got his first goal and Joe Day his third to make the final count respectable.
As happened late in the second period, fights began to break out here, there and everywhere. Which bodes ill or well, depending on your perspective, for Wednesday night's meeting.
Perhaps the Bears, even though they're transplants from Cornwall, are making up for what happened the last time the Bandits played in Hersheypark Arena: They recovered from a 3-1 deficit in the third period and eliminated Hershey in the fifth and deciding game of first round of the playoffs.
"At least we have the two late goals to feel good about," coach Moe Mantha said of the lesson his team received. "We made a lot of mistakes and that's what beat us, but we all know this is what it's going to be like for a while."
The Bandits are now 0-6 in division games, and their next four games are in the Mid-Atlantic.
The contest took on an ominous look for the Bandits fairly early, and after they had started so well, too.
Their pressure was such that the Bears were forced to take a penalty and, as the Bandits started up ice with the extra skater, Doug Friedman picked the puck off Dave Sacco's stick and went in unimpeded to beat goalie Mike Bales with a backhand.
It was Hershey's first shot, if not its first venture into the Bandits' zone and the rout was under way. Just after the 12-minute mark of the opening period, Eric Veilleux converted on a power play.
Round 2 was much the same, and it is referred to as a round, not a period, because that's when the gloves dropped and the fists began flying.
Kurt Miller picked up his fifth goal on a nice feed from Josef Marha, who had intercepted a sloppy clearing pass by Bandits defenseman Byron Briske. That score, at 13: 04, was followed at 15: 50 by a power-play blast by Mike McHugh from the right circle. It was McHugh's fourth goal.
Down 4-0 and with hope beyond fading, Ryan Sittler and Sean Pronger decided to go tag-team against Eric Messier and Rich Brennan. Sittler won the penalty-minutes competition with a game misconduct to go with his fighting and double instigating charges.
Baltimore 0 0 2 -- 2
' Hershey 2 2 1 -- 5
Opponent: Carolina Monarchs
Site: Baltimore Arena
Radio: WWLG (1360 AM), WASA (1330 AM)
Outlook: The Bandits, who have dropped their past three games, all against division foes, get a shot at the last-place Monarchs, who lost, 4-3, to Binghamton last night.
Pub Date: 11/03/96