Spirit routed, 20-6, falls to 0-7 on road Kixx shows resolve as D'Ambra and Sloan register hat tricks

December 21, 1997|By Phil Jackman | Phil Jackman,SUN STAFF

PHILADELPHIA -- Any suggestion that the Philadelphia Kixx had fallen on hard times after rumbling out to a 6-1 record at the season's start were summarily dismissed last night when the team pounded the Spirit, 20-6.

Hat tricks by Don D'Ambra and Kevin Sloan, who also combined for three assists, made this one look easy for Philadelphia. In two previous matches between the pair, the Kixx had been hard-pressed to win.

The setback was Baltimore's 11th in 14 starts and left it with an 0-7 record on the road.

"We just weren't into it for some reason until it was too late," Spirit coach Mike Stankovic said. "We weren't intense enough and we lost too many battles [for the ball] along the board because we weren't physical enough."

Every time the visitors scored a goal, which wasn't often, it seemed to arouse the home forces.

Following the Spirit's first goal early in the second quarter, Philadelphia scored the next nine points. After Barry Stitz's sixth goal midway through the third quarter, Philly got a three-pointer from D'Ambra within a minute and defender Omid Namazi followed up with his second score of the contest.

The Kixx pretty much ran the clock over the last 20 minutes, a goal by Sasa Zoric in the fourth period being covered by a shootout, then a power-play goal by Sloan.

"Our game plan went out the window when they got a three-pointer in the second period," Stankovic said. "We couldn't fall back and protect when we went down 11-2."

Following its strong start, the Kixx had lost three in a row, then won, but lost against Friday night in Cincinnati to fall to 7-5.

"We were wiped out with injuries during some of that stretch, but that's not an excuse," Philadelphia all-star defenseman Matt Knowles said.

"We have too good a team to be losing like we have been lately, and we'd better turn it around in a hurry."

If last night was any indication, Philadelphia appears as if it has things turned around. Further proof might be forthcoming Friday night when the Kixx comes to the Baltimore Arena for the first time.

A seven-point blast in the last four minutes of the first half sent Philadelphia off with a commanding 13-2 lead at intermission.

To that point, the Spirit had been holding its own, a goal by Mike Henning early in the second period closing the home team's advantage to 4-2. Just 12 seconds after that tally, however, Mike Veneto gave the Kixx some breathing room. Then the blitz several minutes later.

The Kixx broke up the lethargy of the early going, ex-Spirit Sloan spotting up in the goal mouth just in time to scissor in his 21st goal of the season after 11 minutes.

Two minutes later, Sloan assisted on D'Ambra's first goal of the evening, a Philadelphia scorer once again leaving his feet to get the ball past Spirit goalie Khalil Azmi.

NOTES: Philadelphia is on a three-game weekend, playing in St. Louis tonight after losing in Cincinnati. The Spirit does the same thing next weekend, playing host to the Kixx on Friday before road games in Harrisburg and Cleveland. The team's top point man Bo Vuckovic, out with a badly sprained ankle, is doubtful for the games.

Pub Date: 12/21/97

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