St. Louis rides playoff drive and emotion to ambush Spirit, 20-12

March 27, 1994|By Keith Schildroth | Keith Schildroth,Special to The Sun

ST.LOUIS — ST. LOUIS -- Baltimore Spirit coach Kenny Cooper knew his team was in for a battle last night at The Arena.

The St. Louis Ambush were playing for a first place tie in the National Division, with Detroit having lost to Buffalo, 12-8. And the Ambush retired goalie Slobo Ilijevski's jersey in a 15-minute ceremony before the game.

Playing for first place and emotion wasn't a good mix for the Spirit.

St. Louis defeated the Spirit, 20-12, before a crowd of 10,052 and gained a tie with Detroit in the National Division.

"St. Louis was waiting for us, and they had a lot to be playing for,"Cooper said. "This was such an emotional game for them. They hadn't beaten us this year, they knew Detroit lost and they retired a great player's jersey."

The Spirit (25-12) scored two fourth quarter goals to cut the lead to 16-12, but goals from Kevin Hundelt at 13 minutes 33 seconds past sixth attacker Rusty Troy and Ted Eck at 13:54 sealed the win.

"They got on a roll in the third quarter, and we couldn't stop them," Cooper said. "We pulled the goalie and made it close, but it was too late."

The Ambush offense prospered in the third quarter. St. Louis led 16-8 after three quarters and dominated play in the third.

David Doyle scored his second goal of the game at 3:54, Steve Maurer scored at 4:37 off a rebound; Eck scored on a giveaway at 6:08 and John Klein beat Cris Vaccaro from the yellow line at 6:55.

Cooper replaced Vaccaro with rookie Shawn Boehmeke in the fourth quarter.

"I didn't want to take a chance with Cris with the playoffs coming up," Cooper said. "We don't need to get him hurt."

Both clubs came to life in the second quarter. The Spirit scored the first three goals with Tarik Walker scoring at 7:13 and 10:02. Paul Wright made it 6-2 for the Spirit at 11:19.

Doyle cut the Baltimore lead to 6-4 when he beat Vaccaro through his legs at 12:59. Doug Neely made it 8-4 at 13:17.

Then Doyle scored at 13:23 and Joe Reiniger scored at 14:07 on a rebound for an 8-8 tie at halftime.

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