Heat gives Vaccaro rude welcome in 17-10 rout Ailing goalie bombarded in season debut as Spirit suffers first loss of year

November 12, 1995|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,SUN STAFF

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Much as the Spirit's Cris Vaccaro was chafing at the lack of activity, this was not his notion of an ideal season's debut.

Forced to miss the first three games with a strained elbow, Vaccaro started last night and was branded by the Harrisburg Heat with a 17-10 defeat before a standing-room only crowd of 7,849 at the State Farm Show Arena. It was the first loss of the season for the Spirit (3-1).

The Spirit made it close with three unanswered goals in the fourth quarter, pulling to 12-10 with six minutes left. But Harrisburg (2-2) put it away with two goals in the final 46 seconds after the Spirit pulled Vaccaro and inserted Kevin Sloan as a sixth attacker. Vaccaro hyperextended his right elbow in training camp, restricting his throwing ability. He then aggravated the injury. Meantime, Joe Mallia tended goal in the Spirit's opening three victories.

Before last night's game, Spirit coach Dave MacWilliams indicated he was "looking for a super game" from Vaccaro.

Although some of the goals weren't Vaccaro's fault -- "We left him naked a few times," MacWilliams said -- he was less than super.

The Heat ran off four straight goals for a 12-4 lead after three quarters, two by Mark Pulisic and one each by David Bascome and Domenic Mobilio. The last three came at Vaccaro in staccato fashion in a period of barely three minutes.

"I was a little nervous, since I hadn't played in seven months," Vaccaro said. "But as the game went on, I felt comfortable."

In the locker room afterward, MacWilliams was uncharacteristically grim.

"It was like we had never played together," he said. "We couldn't put two or three passes together. We just weren't knocking it to each other. I have no explanation for it. It was a disappointing night. I told the team you can't wait until it's 12-4 before starting to play."

With the victory, Harrisburg raised its lead in the rivalry to 16-10. The Spirit has won only three times in 14 games here.

It appeared things were taking a turn for the better for the Spirit when it swept two exhibition games this year and then won the opener, 25-18. But last night's result suggests the jinx is alive and well.

Vaccaro got off to a rocky start, as Harrisburg took a 4-0 lead midway through the first quarter on two goals within a 14-second stretch by Mobilio and Danny Kelly. With less than a minute remaining in the quarter, Franklin McIntosh caught Harrisburg's Scoop Stanisic out of the cage with a 145-foot goal, about three-quarters of the length of the field.

McIntosh also had a role in the Spirit's second score, feeding David Vaudreuil on a goal that tied it at 4 in the second quarter. It was McIntosh's 69th assist since he joined the Spirit last December, eight shy of the team record of 77 held by Goran Hunjak.

Pulisic's goal midway through the second period gave Harrisburg a 6-4 halftime edge.

NOTES: Ex-Spirit coach Kenny Cooper's expansion Tampa Bay Terror dropped to 0-5 after being edged by the unbeaten (6-0) Cleveland Crunch, 23-22.. . . . Spirit veteran Mike Stankovic spent his 39th birthday yesterday by missing the game with a groin strain.. . . . Playing for the first time this season after recovering from injuries were Spirit D Omid Namazi (sprained ankle), F Brad Smith (sprained knee) and Vaccaro. Rookie Pete Schneiders sat out with a sprained ankle.. . . . Harrisburg player/assistant coach Richard Chinapoo was scratched with a calf injury.. . . . The Heat played without Brian Marshall (foot injury) and Nassim Olabi (knee).. . . .Stanisic missed the Baltimore-Harrisburg opener because of a contract dispute. He entered the game with an 8.69 points-against average, one of the best in the league.. . . . Next for the Spirit is a trip to Cleveland Friday to play the Crunch, followed by a match against the Chicago Power Saturday at a neutral site, Philadelphia's Spectrum.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.