Bandits lose lead in third, salvage 4-4 tie with 'Blades Kentucky had beaten hosts in 7 of previous 8 games


When you blow a two-goal lead in the third period at home, it's hardly a cause for celebration. But considering the way things have gone for the Bandits against Kentucky this season, they can probably live with last night's 4-4 tie.

In eight previous games, the Thoroughblades had beaten the Bandits seven times with a tie. They can thank their lucky stars the record reads 7-0-2 today.

Inside the last 10 seconds of regulation, Bobby Wren, who had scored his 12th goal earlier and assisted on another, came flying in ahead of the field on the left wing. "The guys [teammates] were hollering, 'Five seconds. Shoot it, shoot it.'

"The goalie was giving me all sorts of room, but I thought I better get a shot off before the horn."

Not only did Wren get a shot off, but he even got his stick on an in-close rebound, to no avail. "If I'd known there was time," he said, "I would have taken two more strides and gone upstairs [lifted the puck]."

Oh well, at least it was a tie, the Bandits' second straight against the counter-punching 'Blades as they were playing overtime for the sixth time in their last 14 outings.

The home team still hasn't won at the Baltimore Arena in 1997, going 0-6-2 since beating Hershey Dec. 30.

As often happens when the Bandits hold the lead after two periods -- it happened 18 times in the first 52 games -- the Bandits went the conservative route hoping to hang onto a 4-2 advantage.

It took the 'Blades less than nine minutes to expose the folly of slipping into a prevent defense too soon. Ville Peltonen scored at 5: 08 and Fredrik Oduya at 8: 32 to square matters for the visitors.

"We outplayed them for all but the first 10 minutes of the third period, that's for sure," said Wren. "Then we seemed to let down a little. It's happened before."

The Bandits aren't home again until next Thursday, meaning they will have played just one game here in three weeks. Then they play three games in five nights at the Arena. No wonder attendance is a problem.

NOTES: Kentucky played without veteran D Denis Chervyakov, suspended three games for hitting Senn in the face with his stick in Lexington last week. Another 'Blades absentee was Wade Flaherty, recalled by San Jose after taking AHL goaltender of the month honors in January. F Chris Herperger is sidelined with a concussion picked up in Kentucky.

Pub Date: 2/07/97

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