Wittman powers Blast to 5-3 win Beating Stars lifts Baltimore to 15-13

January 20, 1991|By Bill Free

Tim Wittman has become tired of the talk about the Baltimore Blast going on a long winning streak soon.

"To go out and prove it is what counts," said Wittman. "I don'even want to hear any more talk about what we're going to do. Let's just do it."

Wittman took matters in his own hands yesterday at thBaltimore Arena, scoring three goals on a day when goals were at a premium.

His hat trick propelled the Blast past the defense-minded Tacoma Stars, 5-3, before 7,407 in the Blast's first game since the outbreak of war in the Persian Gulf.

A moment of silence was observed prior to the singing of thnational anthem and there were no loud explosions from the five sticks of simulated dynamite during the opening ceremonies.

Tonight at 6:05 at the Arena when the Wichita Wings come ttown, the Blast players will be wearing American flag patches on their left sleeves to honor the U.S. troops in the gulf.

It was Wittman's third hat trick of the season and gave him 2 goals and 12 assists in 20 games. Two of the goals came in the fourth quarter and wiped out a 3-2 Tacoma advantage.

It was the fourth straight win at home and puts the Blast (15-13two games over .500 for the fifth time this season. But Baltimore has not made it to three over.

"I don't even want to mention it [four straight losses when twover] anymore," said Blast coach Kenny Cooper. "The players are all aware of it and they know what they have to do."

Wittman seems to be hitting full stride now after missing eighgames earlier in the season with a lower back injury and a right hip pointer.

He and Dale Mitchell teamed up to score what proved to be thwinning goal yesterday on a perfectly executed play.

Wittman played the ball off the boards to Mitchell out near the NTC red line and then broke for the goal, getting the ball back from Mitchell in full stride about 30 feet from the net and finishing the play by driving the ball past Tacoma goalkeeper Cris Vaccaro for a 4-3 lead 2 minutes, 39 seconds into the fourth quarter.

Wittman had tied the game at 3 earlier in the fourth quarter when he hit a screeching low liner that caromed off Tacoma defender Ralph Black's shoulder into the goal.

The march toward the hat trick began when Wittman tied thgame at 1 on a power-play goal 43 seconds into the second quarter.

"I was in the right place at the right time today," he said. "That'what it takes most of the time. Look at Domenic [Mobilio], nobody is talking to him but he played a good game. He played some tough defense."

Rusty Troy finished out Baltimore's scoring with an open-net goal with 1:30 left in the game, giving the Blast a 5-3 lead.

Mitchell scored Baltimore's second goal late in the third quarteto start a comeback from a 3-1 deficit.

"That goal by Mitchell really hurt us," said Stars coach KeitWeller. "We made a mistake by trying to pass the ball in front of the goal and it didn't work."

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