An angry Baltimore Blast team shoved the Wichita Wings around the Baltimore Arena last night in a physical contest that featured several near fights before the Blast walked off with a 7-4 victory.
Baltimore, led by Billy Ronson's three assists, dominated the Wings so much that Wichita coach Terry Nicholl suggested it may be time for him to resign.
"I've been coaching this team nearly three years and we haven't made much progress," Nicholl said. "We still don't have any discipline. The players play for themselves at home [4-1 record] and for the coach on the road [0-3]. It's time for me to go to the players and ask them if they want me to coach. It's that simple. They have to make a decision."
Nicholl said he expected that decision to come in a few days. He said the fact that Wichita is 2-19 in 10 years (1-9 under Nicholl) at the Baltimore Arena isn't a good sign at all.
Nicholl, seemingly on the verge of tears, said, "The last coach [Charlie Cooke] here got fired because he didn't win on the road. My job is to instill discipline and we don't have it. As soon as things go a little wrong, we pack it in. I thought we died tonight."
Nicholl said the players might be saying it's too early for him to be making such a strong statement but "It's not. I've been in the job nearly three years and things haven't changed. I guess I don't have the ability to get their attention. We're a soft touch right now. The players have to decide if they want me and I have to decide if I want to continue."
The Blast was looking for a "soft touch" or anybody to take its frustration out on last night after it had lost two straight at home.
Blast coach Kenny Cooper said he met with the team Saturday and talked about playing a more physical game than it had played in Friday night's 8-7 loss to the San Diego Sockers.
"We were an angry team tonight. A lot of constructive things were said in the meeting and one of them was the fact that we had to start playing five men up the floor and five down," Cooper said. "After scoring 13 and 10 goals in our first two games at home, everybody seemed to forget about defense and try to get into the scoring act."
That thinking proved to be costly as the Blast (3-4) lost its next two games and in the process Scoop Stanisic lost his job as the backup goalkeeper.
Baltimore came out last night with Ronson and Mike Stankovic leading the way with some old-fashioned hard tackles on the Wings and their scoring star Chico Borja.
Borja, who was the lone Wichita threat with three goals, got into several shoving matches with Stankovic and Ronson throughout the contest.
Borja retaliated by scoring goals and wrapping his hands around Blast midfielder Joey Barger's face at one point in the contest.
Barger said, "I'll remember it. What goes round comes round."
Borja said, "I have no complaints about anything that anybody did to me and they have to expect me to fight back. I like to play a physical game. It's what you expect out there."
Wichita goalkeeper Kris Peat also got into some retaliation last night when he slammed Blast rookie Chris Haywood in the face early in the fourth quarter.
Baltimore midfielder Tim Wittman charged on to the floor to protect Haywood, and Wittman received a two-minute penalty for leaving the bench.
The night also included Cooper charging on to the field at the end of the third quarter to argue with referee Marty Templin about the physical shots the Blast was taking from Borja.
Cooper received a yellow card for his actions. While Cooper was arguing with Templin, Stankovic was yelling at the other referee Kelly Mock.
Stankovic had to be restrained by Cooper and Baltimore defender Bruce Savage.
Stankovic was given a two-minute penalty, but no one seemed to care after the Blast had broken a two-game losing skid.