The Detroit Turbos' transition game was responsible for fiv third-period goals and proved too much as the Turbos defeated the Baltimore Thunder, 14-12, last night before 10,814 to win the Major Indoor Lacrosse League championship at the Baltimore Arena.
The Thunder (6-5) was behind by four goals at the half, but Detroit (9-2) scored three unanswered goals in the final four minutes of the third period for a 13-5 lead. Detroit beat the Thunder in all three meetings this season.
Detroit's Brian Lemon, on a pass from goalkeeper Ted Sawicki at midfield, got behind the Thunder defense and easily scored a goal only 34 seconds into the third period.
Gary Gait then scored on another breakaway with 10 minutes, 50 seconds left in the third period to put the Turbos ahead, 10-4. The Thunders' Jeff Jackson scored coming across the crease midway in the period to cut Detroit's lead to 10-5, but the scoring did nothing to halt Detroit's running game.
Paul Gait muscled passed two Thunder defenders to give Detroit an 11-5 lead with 3:54 left in the third quarter, then the Turbo's Pete Parke scored on another assist from Sawicki with 2:48 remaining. One more goal by Paul Gait 36 seconds later gave Detroit a 13-5 lead.
The Thunder got two goals from Tim Welsh and one each from Rick Sowell, John Heil, Dan Britton and Pat Welsh in the first 11 minutes of the fourth period to cut Detroit's lead to 14-11, but the rally was too late.
The Thunder's Jeff Jackson scored a 20-footer from the left side with 1:26 left in the game to cut Detroit's lead to 14-12.
Detroit held an 8-4 lead at the half, paced by the three goals from Brian Lemon and some outstanding feeds from Gary Gait.
The Thunder outshot Detroit, 21-14, in the first period, but Sawicki had 10 saves. It didn't take the Turbos long to score when Gary Gait launched one of those vintage behind-the-back goals for a 1-0 Detroit lead with 11:01 left in the period.
Detroit made it 2-0 when Jeff Goldberg scored off a fast break with 7:34 left in the quarter. The Thunder, though, stayed within one, 2-1, as Matt Kerwick scored on a high, left-handed shot with 3:15 remaining.
But as they have done so often in their lacrosse careers, the Gaits answered with a goal, this one from Paul 30 seconds later.
The Turbos' Pete Parke was given a two-minute roughing penalty with three seconds left in the quarter, but the Thunder failed to capitalize, getting only one shot on the power play that continued into the second quarter.
But the Thunder pulled within 3-2 on a goal by Sowell, a shot off a carom, 2:21 into the second period. Sowell scored 1:35 later on a 20-footer off the power play to tie the score at 3-3.
Detroit, though, picked up the tempo in the remaining time. Lemon caught the rebound of a blocked shot outside the crease and scored with 7:49 left in the half.
Then Jeff Goldberg, running down the left sideline, scored on a 15-foot shot for a 5-3 Turbos lead with 6:19 left in the half.
The Thunder's Brian Kroneberger launched a long shot of his own, a 20-footer, to pull the Thunder within 5-4 with 5:35 remaining.
Detroit, though, continued its domination, scoring three unanswered goals, two by Lemon, in the remaining time to build the four-goal lead at the half.
Sawicki had 24 saves in the first half as the Thunder outshot Detroit, 37-24.