Bandits to get a break, need to put on brakes AHL free fall continues with 5-2 loss to Carolina

THE BALTIMORE SUN

If ever a team needed a break, a couple of days away from the trials and tribulations of climbing into soggy hockey gear daily, it is the Bandits.

Paired at home against Carolina, the only division foe it has had DTC success against this season, the Bandits again proved easy pickings for the Monarchs yesterday.

Trailing by two goals before midway in the first period, the Bandits never achieved a threatening position as they lost, 5-2. Friday night, the Monarchs won, 3-0, and they have beaten the Bandits five straight times while outscoring them, 30-4.

How bad was it this time? When Bobby Wren scored the Bandits' first goal, Monarchs goalie Kevin Weekes went mildly berserk, as though the Bandits should never score against his team, which climbed within two points of the Bandits (with six games in hand) in the battle for fourth place in the Mid-Atlantic Division.

"I was just mad at myself," said Weekes, who had picked up his first shutout Friday night. "We had a scoreless streak going and I just wanted to extend it. Besides, I shouldn't have allowed the goal."

Steve Washburn, who scored two goals Friday, got Carolina going just a couple of minutes after the opening faceoff with his 17th goal. Ryan Johnson's eighth goal five minutes later doubled the deficit. Wren gave the Bandits some hope with his sixth goal, but the Monarchs got the next two goals and were ahead 4-1 at the second intermission.

Carolina goalie Rich Kromm called them "a couple of huge wins since Baltimore is the team we have to catch."

The way the Bandits have been playing, the only catching necessary would be as they tumble toward the league cellar at breakneck speed.

The Bandits have a skating, weightlifting and injury rehabilitation session today, then optional practices the next three days as the league holds a four-day All-Star break.

The Bandits don't play again until next weekend with games in Springfield and Worcester.

NOTES: D Ruslan Salei, on loan from Anaheim, says he injured his ankle during warm-ups, so he sat out yesterday. The newest Bandits, up from Dayton of the East Coast Hockey League, are D Ryan Gillis and RW Steve Roberts. Roberts has scored 17 goals in 31 games. Carolina passed the 10,000 mark in tickets sold for its game against Kentucky on Saturday in Greensboro, N.C. The Monarchs have a goal of 18,000, which would set a league attendance record. "It's more than a hockey game," Monarchs general manager Brian McKenna said. "This is a chance for the community to show off the Greensboro Coliseum and bring attention to the Triad area." Sean Pronger had an assist in his first start for Anaheim in the Mighty Ducks' 5-2 victory over Buffalo on Friday night.

Pub Date: 1/12/97

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