O'Keefe's three goals help Spirit cool off Heat, 13-11, in OT

January 15, 1994|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Staff Writer

The Spirit's Dan O'Keefe joined exclusive company in the National Professional Soccer League last night.

The 32-year-old veteran became the third player in NPSL history to score 600 points.

He had a two-point goal in the first quarter for 599 and got No. 600 on a one-point power-play goal in the second quarter. He added a score in the fourth period for his third hat trick of the season.

O'Keefe's four points helped propel the Spirit to a 13-11 overtime victory over the Harrisburg Heat before 7,193 at the Baltimore Arena, the team's third largest home crowd of the season. XTC Rookie Tarik Walker got the game-winning goal 19 seconds into overtime.

"I had a lot of room," Walker said. "I took my chances of spinning him [Richard Chinapoo] with the ball coming off the boards. I turned on him and hit it."

Harrisburg's Franklin McIntosh and the Buffalo Blizzard's Rudy Pikuzinski are the only others with more than 600 points. O'Keefe is the league's all-time goals leader with 327.

The lead seesawed in the fourth quarter before Harrisburg's Lee Tschantret tied it at 11 with 5:49 left to produce overtime.

The game produced everything Spirit coach Kenny Cooper hoped it would. There were no ugly incidents on the field or in the stands after a difficult week in which the Heat said it received letters postmarked in Baltimore threatening the safety of its players.

"I'm proud of our fans," Cooper said. "The whole night was a wonderful endorsement for the soccer."

The victory raised the Spirit's record to 14-3, best in the league, and its home record to 10-1. The past four Baltimore-Harrisburg regular-season games have been decided by two points, including two Spirit overtime wins this season.

O'Keefe started the scoring with a two-pointer six minutes into the game to raise his career points total to 599. Harrisburg's Doug Miller tied it at 2, but Paul Wright put the Spirit ahead at 4-2.

McIntosh responded with a three-point goal for a 5-4 Heat edge. It increased his NPSL-record career points to 645.

On a power play six minutes into the second quarter, O'Keefe reached the 600-point plateau, He was assisted on the one-point goal by Wright.

That tied the score at 5. Denis Hamlett and Jason Dieter then traded goals to leave the score tied at halftime, 7-7.

The game marked the return of Spirit rookie Rob Ukrop, who missed 11 games with a broken jaw suffered Nov. 19 against the Heat when Hamlett gave him an elbow.

Ukrop had six goals in the first five games, including the game-winner in overtime against Harrisburg Nov. 12.

NOTES: After three games with the Heat in which he had 12 points, Domenic Mobilio has returned to his native Canada because of problems with his green card, which grants a foreigner permanent U.S. residency. A non-U.S. citizen can't play in the NPSL without a green card. Mobilio, who played four years for the Blast, told the Spirit when it tried to sign him that his green card had been revoked because he had spent so much time out of the United States while playing for Canada's national team. Mobilio got in three games with Harrisburg before the paperwork caught up with him. . . . No word yet from the league concerning fines and suspensions for the Spirit's Goran Hunjak and Buffalo's Ralph Black, who were ejected for fighting here eight nights ago. . . . With 12 points, Spirit goalie Cris Vaccaro has one more than he had all last season in 30 games. . . . After tonight's game against Canton, the Spirit will play the Wichita Wings next Friday at the Arena. The Wings feature Dale Ervine and Tatu, Nos. 11 and 19, respectively, in the NPSL points race.


Opponent: Canton Invaders

Site: Baltimore Arena

Time: 7:05

Radio: WWLG (1360 AM)

Tickets: Many available

Outlook: The Invaders are 0-6 in two years against the Spirit, including 0-2 this season. The Spirit had a season high in points in winning the first meeting, 25-18, on Nov. 6 and posted a two-point victory at Canton a week later. The Invaders, who have won five NPSL titles, are fourth in the American Division and 2-6 on the road. Their top scorer is Kia, who's 17th in the NPSL. P. J. Johns and Frank Arlasky share the goaltending duties.

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