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Bandits' rally falls short as Phantoms hold on, 5-4 Penalties help dig hole against league leaders


It's tough enough beating the Philadelphia Phantoms, a team that averages 4.2 goals a game and allows just 2.8. Any help the opposition gives them usually serves to facilitate its downfall.

Last night, the Bandits twice put the Phantoms on the power play, once when the game was tied and again when they trailed by a goal, and the Phantoms converted. Those goals were the difference in the game as Philadelphia hung on for a 5-4 victory at the Baltimore Arena.

Trailing 5-2 after two periods, the home team put a mighty scare into the league leaders, scores by Craig Reichert and Dave Sacco cutting the Bandits' deficit to a goal with nearly eight minutes remaining.

The Bandits put good pressure on the Phantoms over the next five minutes, but then they were shut down as Philadelphia won its fourth straight and sixth straight on the road while qualifying for the AHL playoffs in its 61st game.

The Bandits got on the board first, Mike Leclerc scoring his 20th goal just before the six-minute mark. The home team was defensing the high-powered Phantoms forwards well until drawing back-to-back penalties shortly after the midway point of the first period.

Philadelphia wasn't able to cash in on its first man-advantage opportunity, but, less than a minute after the clubs were skating even, Brett Bruinicks tied the game with his second goal in 32 games.

Less than 90 seconds later and on the power play again, Patrik Juhlin rapped in his 22d goal out of a crowd in front of the Bandits' net.

Juhlin was at it again in the second period, getting goals early and late.

From a 3-1 deficit, the Bandits got back to within a goal as Sacco, on a two-one-one break, drew a defender before delivering a perfect pass to Frank Banham at the goalmouth. It was Banham's third goal in the last two games.

Collin Forbes' 16th goal inside the last two minutes gave the Phantoms the 5-2 advantage after two periods.

NOTE: Sean Pronger, who still leads the Bandits in goals (26), despite being called up to Anaheim Jan. 10, had another multiple-point game (1-1-2) as the Mighty Ducks tied Edmonton, 3-3, Wednesday night.

Pub Date: 2/28/97

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