After two seasons and 174 games -- representing 69 wins, 86 losses and 19 ties -- it could all end tonight for the Bandits, a franchise that seemed ill-fated from the start of its American Hockey League existence.
Beaten in the first two games of their best-of-five, first-round series in Philadelphia, the Bandits are a prohibitive underdog to be swept by the Phantoms at Baltimore Arena (7: 35 p.m.) and join the Clippers and Skipjacks as AHL franchises that failed here.
Tentative approval of the sale of the franchise to Cincinnati interests has been given by the league's board of governors.
"All that remains now," said Bandits majority owner Mike Caggiano, "is for the team to come up with a working agreement with an NHL club."
An affiliate of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks from the outset, the Bandits got off on the wrong foot with their parent team by failing to meet their financial obligations, and the relationship never prospered.
Last March, the Ducks seriously considered pulling their players out of Baltimore with about 20 games remaining on the schedule.
That and the fact that Anaheim has yet to develop a solid farm system made it quite impressive that the Bandits were able to achieve respectability with records of 33-38-9 in 1995-96 and 30-40-11 this season.
The Bandits lost in the seventh and deciding game of a second-round playoff series against Syracuse last April after defeating Hershey in the opening round.
They did not qualify for this season's AHL playoffs until the final weekend of the campaign, and thus drew the formidable Phantoms (49-21-10) as a first-round opponent.
Opponent: Philadelphia Phantoms
Site: Baltimore Arena
Time: 7: 30
Radio: WWLG (1360 AM), WASA (1330 AM)
Pub Date: 4/23/97