Spirit breaks Heat hex, 15-13 Ukrop's late goal beats Harrisburg

November 13, 1993|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Staff Writer

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- The Spirit finally broke the Harrisburg jinx.

Winless in four games here last season, the Spirit edged the Heat, 15-13, on rookie Rob Ukrop's two-point goal 1:49 into sudden death last night before 4,118 at the State Farm Show Arena.

"They probably figured I was the last guy who would take a shot in that situation," Ukrop said. "I mean, I'm a rookie and I wasn't on target all night.

"I did a quick turn and there was the ball from [Paul] Wright. I never met a shot I didn't like."

In its first road game of the National Professional Soccer League season, the Spirit raised its record to 3-0.

The Spirit had a 13-9 lead midway through the final quarter, but the Heat scored two straight two-point goals, Mark Pulisic's second of the night and Lee Tschantret's first, to tie it at 13-13 with 4:32 left. The Spirit scored only three points in the second half.

"When it was 13-13, I thought, 'Oh, no, here we go again,' " Rusty Troy said. "But I also thought that it's a new year, we have a new team and some strong young guys. If they weren't going to let that [squandering a four-point lead] affect them, I wasn't going to, either."

Coach Kenny Cooper said veterans Tim Wittman, Cris Vaccaro and Troy were sounding a single refrain all week.

"They said we had to establish ourselves in this arena," Cooper said. "We've always had great chances here. Tonight, they went in. We established ourselves."

The Heat had a 4-0 grip on the Spirit in their rivalry here last season, piling up an 83-46 edge in points, a 20-plus average. Harrisburg's final victory knocked the Spirit out of the playoffs in the first round.

Coach Jim Pollihan scoffed at the suggestion that the Heat's advantage here might carry over to this season.

"All I know is that it's a new season and we're 1-2 and Baltimore is 2-0," Pollihan said before the game. "We like to play at home, and any team has to win the majority of its home games to be in contention. We have great crowds that create excitement. But it wasn't like we went undefeated here."

The Spirit's first goal was a gift. The Heat's Bob Lilley chipped the ball over Tarik Walker's head to his goalie, Jorge Valenzuela. Trouble was, it scooted past Valenzuela into the net for two Baltimore points.

Bill Becher scored the first of his two first-half goals to tie it, but the Spirit built a 6-2 bulge on goals by Wittman, Wright and Dan O'Keefe.

After Becher and Troy traded goals, Scott Henderson pulled the Heat within 8-6, but Walker's goal gave the Spirit a 10-6 halftime edge.

The first half was punctuated by rough play. Wright was head to head with Tschantret after the Heat player grabbed his jersey from behind and Jason Dieter and Becher exchanged angry words.

NOTES: Two Spirit starters, Goran Hunjak and Barry Stitz, missed the game with sprained ankles. Rusty Troy played despite a thigh injury. . . . All three goalies suited up -- Cris Vaccaro, Brian Hartlove and rookie Shawn Boehmcke. Cooper wants to determine if Boehmcke deserves the No. 2 job over Hartlove. . . . Lee Tschantret joined the Heat last night after a contract holdout. . . . The Spirit, after visiting Canton tonight, will play the Heat at the Baltimore Arena next Friday. The first 3,000 fans will receive free stadium cups.

Spirit 6 4 1 2 2 -- 15

Harrisburg 2 4 2 5 0 -- 13

First period -- 1. Baltimore, Team, 2 pt. (unassisted), 8:35; 2. Harrisburg, Becher, 2 pt. (Tschantret), , 9:33; 3. Baltimore, Wittman, 2 pt. (Wright), 12:19; 4. Baltimore, Wright, 1 pt. shootout, 12:37; 5. Baltimore, O'Keefe, 1 pt., (Troy), pp, 13:00. Penalties -- Troy, Bal (misconduct), 9:33; Becher, Har (misconduct), 9:33; McIntosh, Har (misconduct), 9:33; Pulisic, Har (tripping), 12:37.

Second period -- 6. Harrisburg, Becher, 2 pt. (McIntosh). 4:52; 7. Baltimore, Troy, 2 pt. (unassisted), 7:13; 8. Harrisburg, Henderson, 2 pt. (Bascome), 11:30; 9. Baltimore, Walker, 2 pt. (Neely), 11:40. Penalties -- None.

Third period -- 10. Harrisburg, Lilley, 2 pt. (Henderson), 9:45; 11. Baltimore, Troy, 1 pt. (Wright) , pp, 14:31. Penalties -- Smith, Har (holding), 12:20; Tschantret, Har ( misconduct), 12:20.

Fourth period -- 12. Harrisburg, Pulisic, 1 pt. (Miller), pp, 1:13; 13. Baltimore, Dade, 2 pt. (Troy), 7:23; 14. Harrisburg, Pulisic, 2 pt. (Becher), 10:21; 15. Harrisburg, Tschantret, 2 pt. (unassisted), 10:28. Penalties -- Wright, Bal (tripping), :06.

Overtime -- 16. Baltimore, Ukrop, 2 pt. (Wright), 1:49.

Shots on goal -- Baltimore 11 7 10 6 3 -- 37. Harrisburg 4 10 11 13 0 -- 38. Goalies -- Baltimore, Vaccaro (38 shots, 16 saves). Harrisburg, Valenzuela (37 shots, 20 saves). A -- 4,118.

SPIRIT TONIGHT

Opponent: Canton Invaders

Site: Canton (Ohio) Memorial Civic Center

Time: 7:35

Radio: WWLG (1360 AM)

Outlook: This is the second of two straight road games for the Spirit. The club beat Canton last week at the Baltimore Arena, 25-18. Goran Hunjak, the Spirit's assists leader with six in the first two games, is expected to miss the game with a sprained ankle. Since winning their season opener, the Invaders have dropped two in a row. Assistant coach Denzil Antonio and Mark Lugris lead the team with five points apiece.

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