WICHITA, Kan. -- Dale Ervine's goal 8:56 into overtime gave the Wichita Wings a 5-4 victory last night over the Baltimore Blast, a crucial win in the race for a berth in the Major Soccer League playoffs.
It was the second straight overtime loss for the Blast in th Kansas Coliseum and their fourth straight overtime loss this season. They lost 5-4 to Wichita on Chico Borja's goal in double overtime on Feb. 23.
A Baltimore flurry offered three big chances to win it thre minutes into overtime.
Domenic Mobilio's shot was saved, the rebound follow by Jo Koziol was blocked by diving Wings defender Danny Pena and Iain Fraser's long follow was blocked before Wichita cleared the ball.
"That's been the story for us in overtime all year," said Blas coach Kenny Cooper, whose team has lost four of five overtime games, all four in a row. "It's disappointing, obviously, because our scoring production is not where it should be."
The victory gave the Wings the edge in the playoff tie-breaking procedure. Winning the series 4-3, they win the head-to-head initial tie-breaking method.
Baltimore (16-19) was pushed out of last year's playoffs b Wichita's 5-3 series advantage. Wichita (16-18) had lost 12 of its past 15 games before last night.
On the game-winner, Rusty Troy and Ervine both stumbled a Ervine turned from the wall. Ervine regained his balance for his shot.
"We both were holding on to each other and instead of keepin my balance, I went for the ball," Troy said. "I got a piece of it, but he kept control."
Cooper was pleased with both teams' tight defense. It was s tight, neither team had a power play.
"We exchanged goals all night, but that was a typical Ervin goal, wasn't it?" Cooper said.
Wichita coach Roy Turner praised Ervine's tenacity as well a the rest of his team. Ervine leads the Wings with 40 goals, but was kept silent by Blast defenders Troy and Doug Neely.
"Dale told me afterward that he didn't do anything nice but tha goal," Turner said with a smile.
"We had to match Baltimore for work ethic. We're scrambling scraping to get out of this hole we dug ourselves," he added. "When you have bodies flying to block shots in front of your goal, you can't fault the work rate."
It outshone a strong performance by the Blast's Jean Harbor and goalkeeper Cris Vaccaro, who had 15 saves and kept Wichita from jumping on the Blast early.
Harbor's two regulation goals tied the game both times. His second, with 3:40 to play, pulled the Blast into a 4-4 tie and forced overtime. He now has seven of his 11 goals in the last eight games.
"He's getting better and better," Cooper said. "It's a strang game. He steps forward and other people's production has gone down."