Just because Hamilton is a new name in the AHL lineup, don't mistake the Bulldogs for a typical start-up franchise. They have five first-round draft choices on their roster -- and one of them is not Ralph Intranuovo, who had two hat tricks last week. The first-round picks are Jason Bonsignore, Sean Brown, Joe Holbig, Steve Kelly and Nick Stajduhar.
The AHL is crowing about its strong start at the gate, averaging just under 5,000 fans for its first 122 games, but look at some of the numbers being rung up by the East Coast Hockey League (aka Double-A): Louisiana, which plays in Lafayette and won its first eight games, is averaging close to 11,000. The Richmond Renegades, who have a working agreement with the Bandits, are fifth in the 23-team league, averaging 6,400 per home date. What would Mike Caggiano give for nightly turnout like that?
The Bandits haven't rallied for a victory after entering the third period trailing in nearly 100 regular-season games. Conversely, Rochester has trailed in the final period of its last three games but recovered for two wins and a tie. Hershey's good in the comeback department, too; the Bears have four third-period, come-from-behind wins this season.
The Portland Pirates are on their longest unbeaten streak (7-0-1) since they started the 1994-95 season going 14-0-3 with Washington's Vezina Trophy winner, Jim Carey, in goal. The Pirates are 8-0-0 outside their division, but have been patsies in the New England Division (1-6-2).
During their two-game set last weekend, Baltimore and Carolina combined for one goal in 28 power-play tries (0-for-14 Sunday) and not once did either team signal the referee that it wanted to decline the penalty against the other team. It's the way thing are going these days: The Kentucky Thoroughblades and Hamilton together went 1-for-18 as Jamie Ram was picking up his second shutout for the horsey set. That same night, Springfield and Providence converted four of five early attempts, so they stopped fouling. The score of that one was Falcons 10, Bruins 7.
The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, godfather to the Bandits, sold out just once during an eight-game home stand, which means marketing and promotion and the Disney name can't make up for ineptitude on the ice forever.
Big time no problem
Let's hear it for Mike Fountain, the loosey-goosey netminder who eliminated the Bandits from last season's playoffs for Syracuse: He became the 19th goalie in NHL history to throw triple zeros in his debut when Vancouver beat New Jersey, 3-0. In the net for the Devils was Mike Dunham, who led Albany to its great season last year.
The Worcester IceCats, in Baltimore for a Sunday game, drew 9,700 at home the other night when Hershey came to town. The fans got their money's worth as arguments and requests for stick measurements suggested perhaps Court TV should have been on hand to cover the action. Despite the 4-2 setback, the Bears still lead the AHL in points, with Philadelphia second and Worcester third.
Pub Date: 11/25/96