Wouldn't it be great for the Bandits if somehow Anaheim would forget it had assigned winger Valeri Karpov to the American Hockey League club to get his game legs back?
In a display that left no doubt in anyone's mind why he's a big-league player, Karpov led the Bandits to an exciting and well-played, 5-4 victory over the Hershey Bears last night at Baltimore Arena.
Karpov had help, with linemate Sean Pringer scoring a pair of goals and the other wing, Craig Reichert, picking up a goal and an assist. Still, it was Karpov's show.
Besides the winning goal on a blistering shot from the left circle with less than seven minutes remaining, Karpov contributed an important assist on one of Pronger's goals that kept the Bandits solvent during a hellacious third period.
Despite being outplayed in the first 10 minutes of the game, Hershey was on the board first when Kurt Miller cashed in a power play at the 7: 56 mark. Reichert's 10th goal for the Bandits squared it after a period.
The Bandits controlled the second period, and goals by Pronger and Trevor Senn sent the home team off with a 3-1 advantage.
Blair Atcheynum's 20th goal got the Bears back to within a goal just 2: 33 into the third period, but Pronger gave the Bandits a two-goal lead at 3: 07 with his 24th goal.
Eric Veilleux converted a power play at 6: 22 and, about six minutes later, Steve Lingren tied the game at 4; the goal did not come on a power play, the Bandits keeping their sticks and elbows to themselves.
Prior to their last three meetings and in six contests against the Bears, the Bandits had been all but patsies, losing all of the games while being outscored, 27-15.
NOTES: The Bandits, 0-4 against Kentucky so far, entertain the Thoroughblades at the Arena tomorrow and Thursday afternoon at 5 p.m. A complete turnaround would appear to be necessary if the home team has any aspirations of climbing to third place in the Mid-Atlantic Division. Kentucky has 37 points, the Bandits 29.
Pub Date: 12/31/96