The Baltimore Thunder, trailing by six goals in the secon period, came back last night to defeat the Pittsburgh Bulls, 14-12, before 8,727 at the Baltimore Arena.
The victory, which was filled with penalties and fights, kept Baltimore (5-3) in first place in the American Division of the Major Indoor Lacrosse League.
Goalie Jeff Gombar was outstanding, making 31 saves and holding the Bulls (3-5) to two goals in the second half. He was named the game's most valuable player.
The Thunder, trailing, 11-8, entering the last quarter, roared back to tie the game at 11-11. Matt Kerwick, Jeff Jackson (on a feed from Kerwick) and John Boote scored for Baltimore in the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter.
Jackson's fourth goal of the game at 10 minutes, 9 seconds of the fourth period gave the Thunder its first lead of the game, 12-11. After Jackson had scored, he did a dance and Pittsburgh's Ed Stephenson took exception and a short scuffle broke out.
Rick Sowell's goal on a pass from John Nostrant increased the Thunder's lead to 13-11 with 3:28 remaining, and Todd Canby's goal on a pass from Gombar made it 14-11.
"Pittsburgh came in here ready to fight," said Thunder general manager Darrell Russell. "They tried to take our key players out of game with the rough tactics. They did the same thing against Detroit, and it didn't help them.
"Also we did [Bulls goalie Kevin] Bilger a favor by hitting him with so many shots."
Jack Tucker, head of officials for the MILL, said: "This is definitely the roughest game I've seen in the league this season."
Pittsburgh grabbed a 2-0 lead on a pair of power-play goals by Brian Nikula and John Wilson in the first six minutes. Baltimore tied the score on goals by John Heil and Sowell.
However, a pair of unassisted goals in a 25-second span by Joe Gold put the Bulls back into a two-goal lead. Jackson's breakaway goal cut the lead to 4-3 at the end of the first quarter.
Pittsburgh scored five consecutive goals at the start of the second quarter, two short-handed, for a 9-3 lead before Tim Welsh's power-play goal at 6:40 stopped the streak.
Pittsburgh 4 6 1 1 -- 12
Baltimore 3 3 2 6 -- 14
Goals: P--Keith 2, Nikula 2, Marino 2, Wilson 2, Gold 2, Hormes, Stephenson; B--Jackson 4, Sowell 2, Kerwick 2, Heil, Nostrand, Kroneberger, Boote, Canby, T. Welsh. Assists: P--Klodzen 2, Nikula, Marino, Wilson, Hormes, Lamon, Klausner, Harrison; B--Sowell 2, Nostrand 2, Aldredge 2, Angotti 2, T. Welsh, Kerwick, Gombar. Saves: P--Bilger 47. B--Gombar 31, Manos 1. A: 8,727.