Bandits, T'blades in dead heat, 4-4 Baltimore loses lead, but tie stops 7-game skid vs. Ky.


LEXINGTON, Ky. -- After taking seven losses in seven tries against Kentucky, the Bandits played the Thoroughblades to a 4-4 tie last night.

"We stopped the bleeding," Bandits coach Moe Mantha said after the second game here in two nights. "Now we've just got to find a way to get a 'W'. We played well as a team tonight. We played hard."

The Bandits blew a 4-2 lead and remained winless in overtime games (0-2-6).

Kentucky remained unbeaten (4-0-5) in overtime, as well as its last seven games at Rupp Arena (5-0-2).

"It would have been better if we could have gotten two [points]," said David Sacco, who scored the Bandits' first two goals. "It's a little disappointing any time you lose a lead, but it's a good point for us.

"This was a hostile building tonight -- 9,000 fans. Any time you can get a point on the road, it's a good thing."

Bob Wren had a goal and two assists for the Bandits, and Mike LeClerc scored the fourth goal.

Baltimore led 4-3 after two periods, but Ville Peltonen evened matters at 4: 09 of the third.

Alexandre Boikov headmanned the puck to Iain Fraser, who took it while skating backward at the blue line. Peltonen broke down the middle unguarded, and Fraser -- who has 12 goals and three assists in his last seven games -- made a slick centering pass.

Kentucky converted both of its first-period power plays to lead 2-1 on goals by Pat Mikesch and Randy Stevens.

In between those goals, Sacco registered his sixth goal of the season for the Bandits. Sacco's 45-foot shot beat goalie Wade Flaherty (37 saves) at 5: 31.

The assist went to Wren. The left wing has a six-game scoring streak (four goals, six assists).

The Bandits came out blazing in the second period, taking 11 of the first 14 shots and scoring the first three goals to take a 4-2 lead.

Sacco was first to find the net, redirecting Ruslan Salei's shot off a faceoff at 2: 45.

Wren made good on a power play at 4: 09. Salei sent a cross-ice pass, and Wren fired from the right faceoff dot.

LeClerc scored his team-leading 17th goal at 9: 04. After splitting the defense just inside the middle of the blue line, LeClerc fired just to the inside of the right post.

Fraser, who scored a hat trick a night earlier, pulled Kentucky to within 4-3 before the second intermission by scoring his 21st goal at 12: 08.

Kentucky had the better chances in overtime, most notably a Jan Caloun shot from the slot. Fraser won a draw, sending the puck directly to Caloun, but his one-timer was covered by Bandits goalie Mike Bales (28 saves) with 13.8 seconds left.

NOTE: The teams complete their three-game set Thursday in Baltimore.

Pub Date: 2/01/97

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