ST. JOHN'S, Newfoundland -- Rookie goaltender Tom Askey turned aside 43 shots, but it wasn't enough as the St. John's Maple Leafs defeated the Baltimore Bandits, 4-2, in American Hockey League play last night.
The Bandits remained four points ahead of the idle Carolina Monarchs for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Southern Conference.
Askey, who spent the past four seasons in goal for the Ohio State Buckeyes, was brilliant from the opening whistle, stopping all 19 Leafs shots in the first period.
Askey stopped 29 shots Tuesday night against the host Maple Leafs in the Bandits' 5-4 victory.
"I don't care what team you are, you need good goalkeeping to be successful," said Bandits coach Moe Mantha. "Tommy made some big saves and gave us a chance to win this hockey game. That's all we can ask from the kid."
Frank Banham opened the scoring for the Bandits five minutes into the game but the Leafs rallied with three unanswered goals in the second period on shots from David Cooper, Scott Pearson and Matt Martin. Mike LeClerc banged home his 23rd goal of the season early in the third period to cut the margin to 3-2, but Pearson got his second goal of the game into an empty net to seal the victory.
"Anytime you can come in and get two points out of this building you've done something pretty good," said Mantha. "It's a tough building to win in but the guys played hard in both games and we could have walked away with four points."
Former Washington Capitals goalie Don Beaupre was equally impressive for the Canadian Division-leading Leafs, stopping 28 shots, including an outstanding save on the Bandits' Igor Nikulinlate in the game.
The Bandits continue their road trip tomorrow at Providence before heading to Syracuse for a Saturday afternoon matchup with the Crunch.
"We're in a real battle with Carolina and every two points at this part of the season is very important," said Mantha. "These two wins could prove crucial to us down the stretch."
Pub Date: 3/13/97