Saints stop Thunder, 18-11, to tighten playoff picture LoCascio makes 28 saves

N.Y. just half-game back

February 18, 1996|By Gregg Sarra | Gregg Sarra,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Mark Millon may have left town and relocated to Baltimore but his heart is still on Long Island. The Harborfields graduate came into the Nassau Coliseum last night with one thing in mind.

MA He came to make sure that his Baltimore Thunder, for which he

is the leading scorer, remains on track to make the Major Indoor Lacrosse League playoffs.

But the Thunder ran into a roadblock last night when New York Saints goalkeeper Sal LoCascio stopped 28 shots to key an 18-11 victory before 7,055 fans.

"This is not the way we thought the game would go," Millon said. "They played solid defense and LoCascio was great."

Millon was held to one goal and one assist as the Thunder offense struggled to get in sync against a swarming Saints defense.

Instead of practically assuring itself of a playoff berth by opening up a 2 1/2 -game lead with four to play, the Thunder (3-3) finds itself just a half-game ahead of New York (3-4) for the fourth and final postseason spot.

"In order to make the playoffs, we needed this win real bad," said Saints attackman Tony Millon, Mark's brother. "Now we have a shot."

The Saints opened the scoring with four consecutive goals, the prettiest an unassisted underhanded scoop shot from Gordon Purdie with 7:25 left in the first quarter.

The Thunder worked its way back to a 5-5 tie at 11:06 of the second quarter when Paul Cantabene found the back of the net. It was the last time the Thunder would get close to the Saints, who unleashed a four-goal barrage at goalkeeper J. J. Pearl. Eric Seremet's third goal of the game with 9:23 left in the third quarter opened a 9-5 lead.

"We let Sal get on a roll and their offense was clicking," Mark Millon said. "We had to jump all over him. And we didn't."

The Thunder replaced Pearl at the half, but a fresh Bob Watson was no solution to the Saints' offense. He faced 28 shots and allowed nine goals -- most of those coming in one-on-one situations.

"We found a couple of openings in the defense and we passed really well," said Saints attackman Tim McIntee. "It was a good night all around."

After Baltimore creeped to within 13-9, LoCascio stopped two breakaways and the Saints pulled away with five unanswered fourth-quarter goals for an 18-9 lead.

"He was the key ingredient, the basis for our win," Tony Millon said.

Bob Martino paced the Thunder with three goals and Jeff Klodzen added two goals and two assists. The Thunder had beaten New York twice last season but has struggled at the Nassau Coliseum, winning only four of 11 meetings.

Thunder ... 3 .. 4 .. 2 .. 2 .. -- .. 11

New York .. 5 .. 4 .. 4 .. 5 .. -- .. 18

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