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THIS TIME, BLADES BURY THE EAGLES, 6-1

Playing the middle game of a three-game set with the Kansas City Blades, the Salt Lake Golden Eagles lost their heads and then lost the game, 6-1 Friday night at the Delta Center.

While the Eagles appeared be trying to send a message with their fighting ability, Kansas City sent the Eagles a message on the scoreboard before 7,442 disappointed fans.The Blades' atoned for Wednesday's 4-3 overtime loss when the Eagles had fought back from a 3-1 deficit in the third period.

While the Blades were going about their business, the Eagles resorted to rough play much to the chagrin of Eagles' Coach Bob Francis.

"We showed a total lack of discipline tonight," he said. "Instead of generating our aggressiveness in a positive way, we did it in a negative way . . . to the point it was embarrassing."

Although both teams were called with a bunch of penalties, Eagles were doing most of the instigating. "We lost our focus. We were self-destructive," said Francis of his club which piled up 95 minutes in penalties.

But Kansas City Coach Kevin Constantine didn't seem too bothered by the Eagles' rough play afterward.

"It's all part of hockey," he said. "Salt Lake's fighting for their lives and they're not going to roll over for anyone."

The Eagles' lead over Indianapolis in the race for the final playoff spot fell to one point as the Ice defeated Milwaukee 4-0 Friday night behind goalie Ray LeBlanc. Salt Lake (30-38-8) still has 68 points while Indianapolis moved up to 67.

The Blades jumped out to a quick lead, scoring just 1:33 into the contest when Mikhail Kravets smacked in a slap shot past Jason Muzzatti.

Later in the period, Kevin Evans made it 2-0 with assists from Kravets and Gary Emmons on a perfect 3-on-2 break.

With two minutes left in the period, Salt Lake's Richard Zemlak scored a disputed goal on a rebound shot. The goal went in just as the net was being dislodged by former Eagle Rick Lessard, but the referee allowed it.

But just before the end of the period, another ex-Eagle, Peter Lappin, scored on a power-play goal to make it 3-1 Kansas City.

Afterward, Francis held a closed-door meeting with his players. "We have a lot to work on between now and Tuesday," he said.

That's when the Blades and Eagles play the third game of their set at the Delta Center.