Zoric, Vuckovic power Spirit's 20-11 romp Victory over Buffalo is team's 2nd of season

November 23, 1997|By Phil Jackman | Phil Jackman,SUN STAFF

Maybe the Spirit should forget practicing and prepare for games by taking lengthy bus rides the night before.

Beaten in Buffalo Friday night, the team rode the New York Thruway and I-95 until 7 a.m. yesterday before taking on the Blizzard last night at the Baltimore Arena.

The home team, paced by Sasa Zoric's hat trick, a solid all-around performance by defender Lance Johnson and an eight-point game by Bo Vuckovic looked refreshed throughout as it smacked the visitors, 20-11.

While the Spirit was watching "Caddyshack" on the bus, Buffalo flew south, but had a layover in Albany, N.Y., and didn't arrive in Baltimore until an hour before its hosts.

"Actually, this team travels well," said Johnson, who was scoring his first points of the year from the back. "These guys are so young, they don't even know enough to complain yet.

"In the past, the veterans, used to flying, would get on a bus and start hollering. Sometimes we were beaten before the game started. And we are such a young team we didn't lose much out of our legs."

Trailing 9-5 five minutes after intermission, the Spirit scored 13 straight points over the next 20 minutes, much to the delight of the 6,281 on hand, raising its record to 2-6.

The teams made up for a som- nolent first half with a burst of activity in the first five minutes of the third quarter.

Buffalo drew a penalty after 29 seconds, but it did the home team no good, the visitors scoring short-handed. The Blizzard drew another penalty, however, when Mike Kirmse, in the penalty box, left to celebrate and was remanded back for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Zoric tied it at 5 for the Spirit with a power-play one-pointer, but 17 seconds later, Armando Valdivia scored for the Blizzard.

Buffalo nudged ahead 9-5 on shootout and power-play goals before Johnson, Barry Stitz and Shane Dougherty finished off the quarter with two-pointers and Zoric started the final period with his third goal.

At this point, Vuckovic joined the parade with a three-pointer and a two-pointer.

"Goals are contagious," Johnson said. "We've had it happen to us this year, but when we started to hit, and with the noisy crowd pushing us on, it was our night."

Pub Date: 11/23/97

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