Julius helps Heat burn Spirit in overtime, 19-17 Club falls to 0-13 on road after forcing extra session

January 24, 1998|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Another exceptional performance in goal by Khalil Azmi was squandered last night when Larry Julius hit a 20-foot shot off a restart after just 21 seconds of overtime to give the Harrisburg Heat a 19-17 victory over the Spirit.

While the Heat was picking up its first win in three weeks, the loss continued the Spirit's season-long futility on the road

through 13 games.

Azmi's acrobatics in goal and fine offensive work by Sasa Zoric and Denison Cabral kept the Spirit in it throughout before Harrisburg's flash goal.

The Spirit, trailing by five points starting the fourth quarter, got two goals in the last minute of regulation to force the extra session.

The call that set up the free kick by Harrisburg did not sit well with Spirit coach Mike Stankovic.

"All night long Sasa Zoric was getting boarded and there were no calls," he said. "Then, we get in overtime and they [officials] finally chose to make a call. How can they do that in overtime and give Harrisburg that chance?"

About all Julius had to do after the setup was hit the ball high and hard.

Three good saves by Azmi kept the game scoreless through the first five minutes when Mark Pulisic got the Heat on the board. He was set up in front by Dave Bascome and Azmi had no chance.

The same proved true for the Heat's rookie goalie John Kluba a couple of minutes later when Zoric found Lance Johnson open at a post after a free kick and rifled a pass to him for the goal.

The teams sparred between the yellow lines for more than half of the second quarter before Zoric made a terrific play to pull the Spirit within 6-4. Taking a pass from Chris Scotti, Zoric faked and bought time in traffic until unloading a screened shot through Kluba's legs.

Zoric was back at it early in the third period, boosting the Spirit into a 6-6 tie with his second goal and fifth point of the evening.

Less than a minute later, however, the Pulisic-Bascome combination was back at it with its second collaboration for a goal, and seconds later Bill Becher had his second goal and the Heat had a 10-6 lead.

It lasted less than two minutes, though, first Cabral, then Bo Vuckovic hit two-pointers to tie the game at 10.

NOTES: During its seven-game losing streak, Harrisburg was outscored 32-20. With eight more blocks, Johnson becomes the Spirit's all-time leader in that department with 219. Jason Dieter compiled 218 during his five seasons with the team.

Spirit tonight

Opponent: Philadelphia Kixx

Site: Baltimore Arena

Time: 7: 35

Radio: WCBM (680 AM)

Outlook: The Kixx (15-6), which beat Cincinnati, 15-14, last night has recovered from a recent slump, winning seven straight games to open a 4 1/2 -game lead over Harrisburg in the East Division. The Spirit has lost four straight to Philadelphia, once by a point and another time by two points in overtime. Kevin Sloan, a former Spirit player, and Don D'Ambra provide most of the scoring for the Kixx, combining for 140 points in the first 20 games. The Kixx is 5-3 on the road.

Pub Date: 1/24/98

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