HERSHEY, Pa. -- To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the opening of the Hersheypark Arena, it was "Cheap Goal Night" at "The Barn."
Tom Askey had another big night in the net for the Bandits, the goals he allowed in his team's 3-2 victory resulting when he had trouble regaining the upright position after an excellent save, and on a play in which he had no chance.
Meanwhile, all Bandits goals were of the suspect variety, especially in the eyes of the 5,029 patrons on hand who spent the evening giving the hometown goaltenders a tough time.
"The two new defensemen we brought in really helped, especially Andy Silverman," said Askey, whose 34-save effort evened his record at 4-4-2.
While Hershey did have 36 shots, most were of the variety usually handled easily by a goalie, from afar and with no one blocking his view.
The Bears applied great pressure down the stretch, the last minute seeing four faceoffs in the Bandits zone and the home team using every delaying tactic it could muster.
"I suppose it's an attempt to ice the goalie just like they ice the kicker in football," said Askey, "but I think it helps. It gives you a chance to breath a bit and focus in you mind just what you have to do."
Trailing, 3-1, after two periods, Hershey closed to within a goal on Doug Friedman's marker with just over eight minutes remaining. Thereafter, the Bandits' defense toughened and Askey was required to make just one outstanding save in the stretch, a rocket launched by Mike McHugh from about 20 feet with nine seconds remaining.
It was the first victory for the Bandits over the Bears after six losses and a tie.
Mike LeClerc's 25-footer got the Bandits off well after 7: 40 of the first period and the visitors had two other excellent chances to increase their lead in the first.
After Blair Atcheynum squared it for the Bears at 3: 39 of the second session, the Bandits were on top again a couple of minutes later when Igor Nikulin's shot somehow found its way through Hershey goalie Petr Franek.
Hershey coach Bob Hartley, who has shown little patience with his rookie netminder all along, replaced him immediately with J. F. Labbe. The veteran promptly gave up Baltimore's third goal (by Bob Wren) on the first shot sent his way at 7: 10.
Wren, it turns out, scored his wraparound goal with an illegal stick, a fact brought to light 10 minutes later when Hershey asked that the implement be checked. Wren took a legal stick to the penalty box with him.
Pub Date: 12/19/96