It was 48 days in coming and, understandably, the Bandits enjoyed every period, every minute, every second of their 5-0 crushing of the Adirondack Red Wings last night.
When the final horn sounded, the team congregated around goalie Tom Askey, who turned in his first shutout as a pro. After all the back-slapping was done, the players left the ice -- slowly and reluctantly.
The midwinter snooze by the Bandits had stretched to 10 games (0-8-2) at Baltimore Arena. The last time they raised their gloves in victory here was Dec. 30.
Bobby Wren's two goals led the way.
The Bandits broke away from a scoreless first period with three goals in the second. Dave Sacco got the first goal and, after Wren's pair, Eric Manlow and Mike Leclerc finished off the visitors in the third period.
Adirondack came to town on a 5-0-1 roll. Prior to that, the Wings were 1-5-1 and, before that, 7-1-0. A streaky bunch.
If it hadn't been for an occasional whistle during the first 20 minutes of play, folks passing by the Arena last night might have thought the place was closed.
The noise showed up early in the second period, however, and so did the Bandits' offense.
The home team controlled the play early, but it wasn't until Manlow out-hustled highly regarded defenseman Yan Golobovsky for the puck and nudged it to Sacco, who scored his ninth goal, that it was rewarded for its play.
Wren followed with his 14th and 15th goals, just under 10 minutes apart, and with 5: 41 remaining in the middle session, the Bandits were leading 3-0.
"There was a lot of luck involved," Askey said of his occasionally brilliant, 35-save effort. "For instance, one guy beat me, but it hit the post and shot right back out. I was able to jump on it or he would've slapped in the rebound.
"At the same time, I've had some bad luck lately. One time, I made a save and the puck flew up, hit a guy in the rear end and went in. That was against Adirondack, too."
Askey, in his first professional year out of Ohio State, came to the Bandits highly recommended by parent club Anaheim. "I realize I've got a lot of work to do to make it to the NHL," he said.
His record stands at 8-13-1, with a 3.85 goals-against average.
NOTES: The Bandits released D Kevin Knopp and signed D Aaron Keller to a tryout agreement. The team next travels to play the Philadelphia Phantoms on Thursday night at the Spectrum. The Phantoms already have sold 15,000 tickets for "South Philly Night."
Pub Date: 2/18/97