Burned Blast to see Cooper turn up heat

January 28, 1991|By Nestor Aparicio | Nestor Aparicio,Evening Sun Staff

Blast coach Kenny Cooper said it's once again time to turn up the heat on his players during daily practices.

After a pair of weekend losses, the coach was in a particularly foul mood Saturday night.

His team lost 9-6 in Cleveland on Friday and managed to squander a 3-1 lead to the San Diego Sockers at the Arena to lose 7-5 the following night before the season's largest crowd of 9,417.

"There are guys that know what it takes to win and guys who will do whatever it takes to win," Cooper said. "I really start to doubt some of the heart in here when we give away big home games. We need to work harder and the practices are going to be tougher. That's just the way it has to be."

The Sockers (17-12) scored the quickest goal in league history at three seconds when speedy Paul Wright burned the defense and goalie Scott Manning, who was returning from a leg injury that kept him out for two weeks.

But the Blast (16-15) managed a two-goal lead by the end of the period and traded goals with the Sockers for the next two periods. In the final minutes the Blast fell apart, allowing Branko Segota a goal with 2:14 remaining and another to Waad Hirmez to ice the victory.

"In this league, when we get that kind of a crowd we have to get them back and performances like that are a big disappointment for everyone," said defender Bruce Savage. "Kenny has every right to be pretty angry. We didn't play well."

Cooper was made even more angry when the Sockers, holding a two-goal lead, called a timeout with 34 seconds remaining.

"That was really rubbing our noses in it and that's uncalled for," said Cooper, who had words with San Diego coach Ron Newman after the final buzzer.

Newman said goalie Savva Biller made the decision to stop play to get his best defensive unit on the field.

"He's a rookie goalie and he was a little concerned," Newman said. "But I can't blame him. We've seen Baltimore score two goals on us in the final 30 seconds to beat us before."

The Blast gets a chance for revenge with last-place Cleveland Saturday night at the Arena.

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