ST.LOUIS — ST. LOUIS -- A trip to St. Louis used to be the perfect cure when the Baltimore Blast was ailing. But that no longer appears to be the case.
Baltimore, which at one time held a 10-0 lifetime record over the St. Louis Storm, hobbled into St. Louis last night, and the Storm showed no mercy, as Preki, Thompson Usiyan and Brian Schmetzer scored fourth-quarter goals to produce a 5-4 win over the Blast.
Dale Mitchell had a hat trick and Domenic Mobilio a goal for Baltimore (19-22), which has dropped four in a row overall and eight straight on the road. St. Louis (24-16) got two goals from Usiyan.
The Blast entered the game in its worst physical condition of the HTC season. Missing were forward Tim Wittman, who is preparing for arthroscopic knee surgery; defender Mike Reynolds, who is suffering from a left knee bruise; and defender Joe Barger, who suffered a wrenched neck while answering the telephone in his hotel room yesterday afternoon.
Blast coach Kenny Cooper didn't want to use the injuries as an excuse, however.
"We've never had a season where we've had this many injuries," Cooper said. "But it is what it is. You have to keep going. You can't hang your heads. You got to pick your heads up and go forward.
"We played a tremendous game tonight. We made a couple of bad decisions late, and it cost us. [His players] played their hearts out and came away with nothing."
Still, the Blast hung tough. After holding the high-powered Storm to a 1-1 draw during the first half, Baltimore took the lead 3 minutes, 43 seconds into the second half when Mitchell scored his second goal of the game on an assist from Mike Stankovic.
St. Louis tied it at 2-2 on a pretty passing play from Emil Dragicevic to Usiyan. Dragicevic spotted Usiyan wide-open in front of the net, and he put goal No. 54 past Blast keeper Hank Henry at the 6:41 mark of the third quarter.
Baltimore took the lead again 36 seconds into the final quarter. Bruce Savage, who was playing with a strained groin muscle, saw Domenic Mobilio streaking in from the left side and hit him with a crossing pass right at the goal line. Mobilio put it past Toth for his team-leading 38th goal and a 3-2 Baltimore lead.
But again, the Blast couldn't hold it. Preki scored his 52nd goal of the season at 7:07 to tie the score, 3-3. St. Louis took its first lead of the night at 10:56, when Usiyan scored his second goal of the game. Schmetzer added an empty-net goal at 13:27 to make it 5-3.
With Billy Ronson on as the sixth attacker, for the Blast, Mitchell scored his third of the game with less than a minute remaining. But St. Louis held on for the final 55 seconds to record its second straight win over the Blast.
Mitchell saw something positive in the loss, though.
"Obviously, you're disappointed when you lose, especially the situation we're in now, having lost four in a row," Mitchell said. "But if we can continue to play like that, we'll win more than we lose."