Blast's 6th-man attack falls short to Crunch, 6-4 Baltimore's streak of road wins ends at 4

December 21, 1991|By Kevin Martin | Kevin Martin,Special to The Sun

RICHFIELD, Ohio -- What goes around comes around. The Baltimore Blast, seeking a team-record-tying fifth straight road victory, came up short where the streak had begun Nov. 23 -- at Richfield Coliseum.

Two power-play goals in the final 7 minutes, 9 seconds enabled the Cleveland Crunch (5-8) to record a 6-4 triumph before 3,879.

The loss was the second straight for Baltimore (7-7), which was outscored by 3-0 in the fourth quarter. It was the first time in five games that the Blast had lost when ahead after three quarters.

"We just lacked a little discipline and composure when we needed it," said Baltimore coach Kenny Cooper. "It was a game we could have won and probably should have won."

The difference was the two power-play goals and a lucky bounce.

The bounce came 2:29 into the final period, when a shot by the Crunch's Zoran Karic went off the Blast's Iain Fraser past goalie Steve Powers, who was playing again in place of the injured Cris Vaccaro.

"That was a big goal," said Cooper. "We had had some good opportunities and just missed, especially in the first half. Then they got a lucky bounce."

Karic, who had a hat trick and an assist, got the first man-advantage score after an illegal-substitution call.

Just 1:39 later, Dave Hoggan sent in a 50-foot shot after David Eise had been called for tripping.

Billy Ronson went in as the sixth attacker, but, unlike last week when Baltimore got three goals during an 8-7 triumph, Cleveland's defense held.

"It's tough, especially on the road, to overcome a team having a four-to-one edge in power plays," Cooper said. "We killed off the first two, but [the Crunch has] some people who can score goals.

"We just have to regroup for tomorrow since we play first-place Wichita at home. It will be a big game for us since we've played better on the road than we have at home."

Just as they had last Friday, the Blast got the game's first goal. Fraser scored on an assist from Rod Castro, who extended his point-scoring streak to nine games.

Baltimore then killed off a boarding call on Doug Neely late in the first period, but the Crunch tied it 4:49 before the half when Hector Marinaro sent a restart feed from Karic between Powers' legs.

Karic put Cleveland ahead just 1:21 into a the third period when he converted a shootout after Powers had come out of the box and tripped him.

The Blast got that one back when Mark Mettrick scored off a feed from Castro.

The Crunch, though, went back up 22 seconds later as George Fernandez connected from 50 feet.

Fifty-five seconds later, Fraser scored off a pass from Domenic Mobilio at the end of a three-on-two counterattack.

Baltimore went up 4-3 with just 12 seconds left in the quarter when Castro got a power-play goal and Mobilio the assist.

The Blast then killed off a handball call on Powers, but soon after Karic got his lucky bounce to begin Cleveland's comeback.

Baltimore 1--- 0--- 3--- 0 -- 4

Cleveland 0--- 1--- 2--- 3 -- 6

First quarter--1. Baltimore, Fraser (Castro), 12:15. Penalties--Ronson, Balt, (misconduct), 13:38; Neely, Balt (boarding), 13:52.

Second quarter--2. Cleveland, Marinaro (Karic), 10:17. Penalties--None.

Third quarter--3. Cleveland, Karic (unassisted), 1:21 (so). 4. Baltimore, Mettrick (Castro), 10:26. 5. Cleveland, Fernandez (unassisted), 10:48. 6. Baltimore, Fraser (Mobilio), 11:43. 7. Baltimore, Castro (unassisted), 14:48 (pp). Penalties--Powers, Balt, (tripping), 1:21; Moreira, Cleve, (ungentlemanly conduct), 12:53; Powers, Balt, (handball), 14:55.

Fourth quarter--8. Cleveland, Karic (Moreira), 2:29. 9. Cleveland,

Karic (Marinaro), 7:51 (pp). 10 Cleveland, Hoggan (DiFlorio), 9:30 (pp). Penalties--Bench, Balt, (illegal substitution), 6:48; Eise, Balt, tripping), 8:29.

Shots on goal--Baltimore 7-7-11-7--32. Cleveland 7-4-6-9--26. Total fouls--B 15, C 9. Goalies--Baltimore, Powers (0-2) (54:30) 10 saves; Ronson (5:30) 0 saves. Cleveland, Johns (4-7) (60:00) saves.

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