Blast looks for one miracle at a time

March 29, 1992|By Michael Gunstanson | Michael Gunstanson,Contributing Writer

DALLAS -- No one will ever confuse Blast coach Kenny Cooper with a magician.

But by his admission, the Blast's unlikely run at a playoff spot is being done with "flash and mirrors."

Even the team's media release before Friday's game said, "it would take a bizarre chain of events for the Blast to qualify for postseason play."

The Blast battled back from a 4-1 opening-period deficit to beat the Dallas Sidekicks, 8-7, and the St. Louis Storm ripped the Wichita Wings, 8-5, leaving Cooper's team in a better position to reach the playoffs.

Wichita rebounded last night to beat the first-place San Diego Sockers, 7-4, leaving the Wings one game ahead of Baltimore with two games left.

"We've got to win them both and hope for a miracle," Cooper said. "[Friday night] was a minor miracle, but if we don't win [today against the Sidekicks at the Baltimore Arena], this means nothing."

The Blast was down 4-1 at the end of the first period, but battled back to tie the score at 5-5. After a couple of lead changes, Domenic Mobilio got the game-winner with 1:42 left.

"I think the whole team was looking at sudden death," said Rusty Troy, who was playing in front of about 20 hometown friends and family.

"I think with what we've done in the past, you had to worry a little," Troy said. "When Tatu got that [go-ahead] goal in the fourth, I think we all said to ourselves, 'Here we go again.' But we sucked it up, dug down deep and got back into the game."

Goalie Cris Vacarro, who took the brunt of a collision with Tatu on his last goal, said the game resembled a combat zone.

"It was absolute war out there," Vacarro said. "It was very, very physical, especially in the second half."

Cooper said he felt drained after the half.

"It's a great feeling to be exhausted both mentally and physically and to look up at the scoreboard and see that you won," Cooper said.

When most teams look at the Blast, they see a team that has struggled for most of the year, Cooper said. And with key injuries to front-line players such as Rod Castro and Mark Mettrick, the Blast aren't given much of a chance at postseason play.

"This victory was a miracle, but it means nothing if we don't win on Sunday," Cooper said. "But I think we're taking teams by surprise. We have no players. We're doing all this on heart and guts and mirrors."

Vacarro agreed.

"We showed a lot of character coming back from the 4-1 deficit," he said. "Now we've got to carry that through to the other games, especially Sunday."

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