Wings rally to beat Spirit, 15-6 Wichita wins battle of defense

January 24, 1993|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Staff Writer

A game that started as a defensive battle suddenly developed into a shootout. But the Wichita Wings did all the shooting.

The Spirit dissipated a 4-2 first- quarter lead, yielded six straight goals and went on to lose to the Wings, 15-6, last night before 6,563 at the Baltimore Arena.

It was the Spirit's largest home crowd of the NPSL season, lured not only by free Spirit T-shirts but also by the Wings, the NPSL's National Division leaders who were making their lone appearance here.

The Spirit (15-6) suffered its first back-to-back defeats of the season. It had won five straight at home and 10 of 11, losing only to the Cleveland Crunch Dec. 19.

Facing Kris Peat, the league's No. 1-rated goalie, the Spirit was held to its lowest point total of the season. Wichita and Baltimore came in as the league's top defensive teams, with average point yields of 10.1 and 10.8, respectively.

Wichita got a monkey off its back, winning in Baltimore for only the fifth time in 24 games over 13 years. Never much of a road team, the Wings were 4-16 in away games last season. They are 4-3 this year.

The Spirit didn't score from the time of Joe Koziol's goal with 5:01 left in the first quarter until Goran Hunjak's with 1:09 left in the game. In the interim, Wichita out-scored Baltimore, 13-2, pouring in six unanswered goals, including a three-pointer by Kim "The Rocket" Roentved. It was Roentved's third three-pointer of the season.

"That was the one that broke their back," said Wichita coach Roy Turner.

In the first period, the Spirit gave the Wings the old right-left-right to take a 2-0 lead. Koziol shot with his right foot, then with his left when the ball bounced back to him. Barry Stitz then put it in with his right.

Eric Eichmann, a member of the U.S. national team that played in the 1990 World Cup, tied it at 2 barely a minute later. Koziol and Stitz collaborated again on Baltimore's second goal, this time with Koziol converting a perfectly placed pass from Stitz for a 4-2 lead.

Although it had 12 shots on goal in the second quarter, the Spirit came away empty. The Wings, who had only four on-goal shots, made two, by Brian Enge and Dale Ervine, and led at halftime, 6-4.

Cris Vaccaro started in goal, but was lifted after the first quarter in Friday night's loss to the Harrisburg Heat. Vaccaro, the NPSL's No. 2-ranked goalie, was battered as the Heat took an 11-3 first-quarter lead and was replaced for the remainder of the game by rookie Brian Hartlove.

The Spirit was coming off its most lopsided defeat of the season, 21-14 to the Heat. Coach Kenny Cooper said, based on that game alone, Harrisburg "is the best team we've played."

NOTES: Jason Dieter, the Spirit's sixth-leading scorer, missed the game with a sprained ankle suffered Friday night in the Harrisburg game. Dieter is doubtful for tonight's road game against the Kansas City Attack. With Dieter out, that means more playing time for seldom-used rookie Mike Conway, a Cardinal Gibbons alum. . . . Chico Borja, Wichita's No. 3 scorer, is out for a month after spraining an ankle.

Spirit tonight

/#

Opponent: Kansas City Attack

Site: Crosby Kemper Arena, Kansas City, Mo.

Time: 7:05

Outlook: Baltimore's first meeting of the season against Kansas City comes as the Spirit's third game in three days. The Attack, second to the Wichita Wings in the NPSL's National Division, won seven of its first eight home games. The Attack's Jon Parry, Kevin Koetters and Brian Haynes are all among the league's top 20 scorers. Haynes has four game-winning goals. Former Blast G Scoop Stanisic is not among the league's top 10. Kansas City is DTC third behind Cleveland and Baltimore in scoring. The Attack has been explosive in the second quarter, with a league-leading 71 points, to 50 for opponents.

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