Wings' finish delivers Blast's first loss, 16-14

Wichita nets winner with 23 seconds to play


November 14, 1999|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

The Wichita Wings, as they had done the whole night, answered when they had to.

The Wings scored the game's final four points to take a 16-14 win over the Blast last night at Baltimore Arena.

Defender James Dunn scored the winning goal with 23 seconds remaining on a free kick deep in the Blast zone off a pass from Braeden Cloutier.

The goal handed the Blast (4-1) its first loss of the season. Wichita improved to 4-2.

"We had some chances earlier in the game and we didn't finish them," Blast midfielder Barry Stitz said. "We went up 2-0 but could never build on that. The longer the game goes and we keep them in the game, the more they believe they have a chance to win."

The Blast looked as though it had taken control of the game with 10 minutes left in the fourth period. The team scored six straight points in less than two minutes, turning a 12-8 deficit into a 14-12 lead.

But the Wings tied the score at 14 on a power-play goal by midfielder Andy Cyrus at 11: 41. Cyrus' goal came after a penalty on defender Lance Johnson for elbowing.

"I thought we had control at that point in time," Blast coach Kevin Healey said. "Then we gave up the penalty. Once we gave up the penalty, they executed on the power play."

Losing at home, even to an out-of-conference team, was something Healey stressed that he did not want to see this season.

"I was disappointed," Healey said. "They did exactly what we prepared for in practice. They worked very hard. We didn't play up to the caliber of play we can. But I was happier with the second half. We were winning balls in their area. We weren't scoring at first but we came to life."

Forward Tarik Walker led the Blast with two two-point goals.

It was the best defensive performance this season against the Blast, which was held under 16 points for the first time in five games.

For the first half, the Wings always had an answer.

The teams exchanged three first-half goals, all two-pointers, and for the Wings, all within four minutes of a Blast score.

Walker started the scoring on a left-footed shot from Paul Wright at 7: 23 to put the Blast up 2-0. Marcelo Fontana tied the match up at 9: 50.

Midfielder Danny Kelly scored 23 seconds into the second period. Forward Jason Dunn tied it at 3: 29.

Wright scored on a pass from Erik Rasmussen, who played with Wichita last season, at 10: 37. Fontana scored less than a minute later to tie the match at 6 at halftime.

"The way you come back is finishing your chances," said Stitz, who had one goal in that six-point stretch during the fourth quarter. "You have to put teams away, especially when you're playing at home. They are hoping to keep the game close and pull it out at the end."

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