Win not enough to save Blast's playoff hopes

11-6 victory over Impact concludes home season

April 03, 1999|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

Oh, if the Blast had put forth a similar effort a week ago. For one thing the team wouldn't be on the outside looking in when the playoffs get under way.

Faced with a one-in-a-thousand chance of making it into the postseason, the Blast handled Montreal last night, 11-6. The only problem was the home team had to win the game by 13 points to be in a position to win a tie-breaker with the Impact.

And, oh yes, the Blast needed Montreal to lose tonight in Harrisburg while it was winning its game in Detroit.

Long shot? That's putting it mildly. But it was an inspired effort by the Blast, an effort that would have done the club a world of good when it lost to the Impact last week and fell a couple games off the pace.

"It was a terrific effort by the guys," said Blast coach Kevin Healey. "And I'll tell you, if [Montreal goalkeeper Raul] Salas didn't have a fabulous game, we would have pulled it off.

"That would have made it very interesting for them [tonight] in Harrisburg, because the Heat would have been out to win to get the home-field advantage in its series."

Franklin McIntosh, with a three-pointer, a two-pointer and an assist, led the charge for the Blast and, at one point, it appeared the team might be able to turn the game into a rout, as was needed.

When McIntosh scored his two-pointer on a restart feed from Danny Kelly less than three minutes into the final period, the Blast not only had its lead out to seven points (11-4), it was getting lots of opportunities to add to that.

Montreal, however, went on the defensive, not allowing the Blast to get free for a run.

Down 7-2 at halftime, the Impact matched the Blast over the final 30 minutes, a restart goal by Mauro Biello 4: 14 into the fourth period stopping Blast momentum for the last time.

It was a crazy goal, ricocheting off a couple defenders and sneaking by Blast goalie Scott Hileman. Thereafter, the Blast threatened a few times, but so too did Montreal.

The Blast applied most of the pressure in the early going but Salas was equal to the challenges sent his way.

After a scoreless first period, Montreal got on the board first, Eduardo Sebrango scoring one of his infrequent goals to make it 2-0.

Immediately, the Blast started inserting a sixth attacker when it gained the offensive end and the strategy took the visitors out of their offensive and defensive patterns.

Tarik Walker started the Blast's run, which saw Baltimore score seven points over the last four minutes of the second quarter.

"As soon as Montreal beat Cleveland on Wednesday night putting us two games down, we began working on a sixth attacker offense, especially on restarts," said Healy. "It's a gamble in a normal game but, what the heck, we needed goals, we had to go with it."

Blast tonight

Opponent: Detroit Rockers

Site: Joe Louis Arena, Detroit

Time: 7: 05

Radio: WJFK (1300 AM)

Outlook: The Rockers (12-27) have had a terrible year and were eliminated from playoff contention two weeks ago at the end of a nine-game losing streak. Even a change of coaches, with goalkeeper Bryan Finnerty taking over March 9, didn't help -- the team lost its first five games under Finnerty. Detroit has played reasonably well at home, going 9-10, but has been a patsy on the road (3-17). The Blast is 6-13 on the road, while finishing 12-8 at the Baltimore Arena.

Pub Date: 4/03/99

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