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Because San Diego's Denny Lambert lost a couple of teeth, Salt Lake lost a hockey game Friday night at the Delta Center.

At least that's the way it looked to the Golden Eagles, after they dropped a 4-3 decision to the Gulls, who scored twice in the final two minutes to snatch an improbable victory.A late penalty called on Salt Lake's Kevin Wortman when his high stick caught Lambert in the mouth knocking out his front teeth, paved the way for the San Diego victory. With a one-man advantage for the final 2:24, the Gulls scored twice, including the game-winner by Len Hachborn with just 8.6 seconds left in the contest.

On the play in question, no penalty was called by referee Dan O'Halloran until well after the play was stopped and Lambert went off the ice with a bloody mouth and no teeth.

After a brief huddle with his linesmen, O'Halloran called a 4-minute double-minor penalty on Wortman. First Larry Floyd scored to tie the score at 3-3, before Hachborn put in the game-winner.

The outcome left Eagle Coach Bob Francis fuming after he stormed the ice and confronted the officials, trying to get an answer.

"That was an injustice to the game - I've never seen anything like it," said Francis. "It's a shame. You've got 18 professional hockey players who are working hard and don't get rewarded for a game like that."

The referee, O'Halloran, and two linesman, refused to comment on the matter afterward when asked to explain the odd penalty.

San Diego Coach Don Waddell said, "(Wortman's high stick) was probably accidental, but if you catch him like that, you've got to call the penalty. The referee didn't see it, but he asked for help from the linesman."

With less than three minutes left the Eagles still enjoyed the 3-2 lead they held after two periods. The Eagles had completed a 3-on-2 rush when the whistle blew and the San Diego trainer was suddenly rushing toward the opposite board to the aid of Lambert, who got up and skated off before the trainer got there.

The Eagles took their first lead of the night with less than a minute left in the second period when Todd Strueby scored on a shot from an almost impossible angle on a shot from the side that bounced off goalie Rick Knickle.

The Eagles will try to regroup in time for tonight's game with Phoenix at 7 p.m. in the Delta Center. "Bungee Mike" will be back for an encore performance, along with "Bungee Brad."