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Avalanche Rolls Over Flyers 3-2

Surrounded by 16 Olympians bound for Japan, Eric Lacroix made sure he didn't get a late start on his vacation to Cabo San Lucas.

Lacroix's wrist shot past Ron Hextall broke a third-period tie, and the Colorado Avalanche took advantage of two disallowed goals for a 3-2 win Saturday over the Philadelphia Flyers.

"They're so excited they couldn't wait for the overtime," Olympian Peter Forsberg said of Lacroix and his vacationing teammates. "They had to get out of here so they could go to the Bahamas or wherever they're going."

Sandis Ozolinsh and Stephane Yelle added goals for the Avalanche, who erased an early 2-0 deficit and won for the fifth time in six games heading into the 17-day Olympic break.

"In the last couple games we played pretty solid and that's exactly what we wanted going into a little break like this," Lacroix said. "It's going to be nice."

Philadelphia has lost five of six and fell to 1-6-1 against the NHL's other top five teams - Colorado, Dallas, Detroit, New Jersey and Pittsburgh.

"It isn't we aren't getting a good effort. We got good efforts," Flyers coach Wayne Cashman said. "We lose here in a game we were probably up 4-1 - somewhere in the world."

Leading 2-1 after the first period, Philadelphia had two goals disallowed within a 5:21 span of the second.

Chris Gratton's goal 3:43 into the period was cancelled because of an interference penalty on Trent Klatt, who tripped Colorado goaltender Patrick Roy as Gratton was shooting from the slot.

"The referee said I stepped on somebody's stick and fell down," Klatt said. "That's all I can tell you."

Said Roy: "He fell down on me. I thought it was an easy call."

Rod Brind'Amour scored from the bottom of the right circle at 9:04, but Eric Lindros was in the crease. Colorado took advantage, tying the game on Yelle's shorthanded goal at 18:16.

"We could have broken the game wide open," Lindros said. "It would have been a pretty big lead. What can you say? I'm not going to comment on the calls."

Despite the setbacks, Hextall kept the Flyers tied with four quick saves early in the third period, but Lacroix scored on a 2-on-3 break at 7:18 - just 16 seconds after Philadelphia failed to convert a power play.

"Whenever I shoot, I don't even look, so I'd be a liar if I said that I looked," Lacroix said of his game-winner. "I've never looked in my life."

Roy finished with 19 saves and had an assist to improve his career record against the Flyers to 3-11-8. Two of the wins have come this season. He now will team with Lindros for Team Canada.

Hextall finished with 19 saves, but got little offensive support as the Flyers had just 13 shots after the first period and went more than 12 minutes without a shot during one stretch.

"We wanted some momentum going into the break and didn't get it," Brind'Amour said.

The Flyers were the agressors in the first period as they took a 1-0 lead when Petr Svoboda deflected John LeClair's shot from the point past Roy 2:36 into the game.

LeClair made it 2-0 at 14:41 as he got behind defenseman Adam Foote and flipped an easy shot past Roy from the crease for his 38th goal.

The Avalanche, who have eight power-play goals in the past six games, took advantage of a Philadelphia penalty and pulled within a goal on Ozolinsh's blast from the slot with 23 seconds left in the opening period.

©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.Eric Lacroix

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