Saints' 2nd-half surge tops Thunder New York bounces back to post 16-12 triumph

March 02, 1997|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

The Thunder played what many would argue was its best first half of the season last night at Baltimore Arena.

Unfortunately for the home team, the New York Saints were not intimidated.

After falling behind 10-6 at the half, the Saints outscored the hosts 5-1 during the pivotal third quarter en route to a 16-12 victory before 4,818.

The loss ended Baltimore's two-game winning streak and put the Thunder (2-5) in a must-win situation when it travels to the Nassau Coliseum on Friday for a rematch with the Saints (4-3).

"It was like two games out there, the first half was one game and the second half was another," Thunder coach John Tucker said. "I told the guys at halftime that the first couple goals of the second half were critical and New York got them and you could just feel them building confidence."

New York forward Mark Millon, the Thunder's leading scorer last season, led the Saints' third-quarter comeback, scoring two goals and assisting on another. Millon finished with two goals and four assists and was named the game's most valuable player.

"Baltimore thought they had us at halftime and that was a big misconception because we're a much better team than we were in the first half," Millon said. "I think Baltimore is a better team than they've been in the past and they proved that last week against Philadelphia, but in this league it's a four-quarter game and you got to play all four quarters."

Steve Kisslinger, another former Thunder player, scored the go-ahead goal for the Saints one minute into the fourth quarter and New York never trailed again. The Saints outscored Baltimore, 10-2, in the second half.

Tim Hormes scored a four goals in a losing cause for the Thunder and teammate Bob Martino added two goals and two assists.

Derek Collins, who had a 51-save performance in the Thunder's 11-10 upset of the Wings, made 24 first-half saves before being humbled in a second half.

The Thunder, which had beaten the Saints on their previous six visits to the Baltimore Arena, jumped to a 4-2 lead in the first quarter after a short-handed goal by Hormes and a penalty shot by Jeff Klodzen.

The Saints, who were coming off an 18-16 win over the defending league champion Buffalo Bandits, put 16 shots on goal in the first quarter but only two of those got past Collins.

Baltimore extended its lead to three goals on a rocket by Martino and led 7-4 when Martino fed David Spencer for the first goal of his indoor career.

The Thunder added three goals in the final 2: 15 of the first half. Todd Curry initiated the spree with a shot from 45 feet away and Hormes completed his hat trick on an unassisted goal with 35 seconds left.

Rob Shek capped one of Baltimore's more impressive halves of the season when he picked off a pass near his own goal and launched a shot 100 feet into a vacant net, giving the Thunder a 10-6 lead at the break.

"We didn't come out ready to play in the second half. I think we ran out of steam," Martino said. "We just let up. I can't explain it. It just happened."

Pub Date: 3/02/97

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