Practice is biggest challenge for Blast's Cabral, Hileman

League shootout leaders pose opposite, tough tests

NPSL notebook

November 24, 1999|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

The answers to why Blast midfielder Denison Cabral and goalkeeper Scott Hileman have been so successful in shootouts this season lies in practice.

They have to face each other.

Cabral leads the league in shootout goals (nine) and Hileman is tied for the league lead in stopping them (eight).

Having two of the best specialists in the league on the same team is a major reason the Blast is having a decent year on special teams.

"Denison has a couple of different things that he does on the shootout that makes him successful," coach Kevin Healey said.

"Scott is a student of the game. We're always looking at tape to see what guys have done on past shootouts. If it's a kicker that we haven't seen on the tape, then he'll talk to [assistant head coach] Billy [Ronson] or one of the players on what they've seen in the past.

"Then he just reacts to the shooter. I give 50 percent of the credit to his athletic ability, the other 50 percent to scouting reports."

Healey said Cabral's scores and Hileman's stops have an uplifting effect on the Blast on the ensuing power play. The Blast is fourth in the league on the power play, converting 44 percent of its chances. The team is tied for sixth (50 percent) in penalty kills.

While those statistics are not overwhelming, Healey said he is pleased with the special teams' play because of their improvement since the beginning of the season.

Cabral also is tied for the league lead in power-play goals with three.

"Offensively, on the power play, we've done OK, but we can do better with the caliber [of talent] we have," Healey said. "We made an adjustment on Saturday night, getting Erik [Rasmussen] back on the left side, and either Danny Kelly or Paul Wright over the ball, which I think is much more effective."

In Saturday's 14-8 win over Montreal, those adjustments led to one power-play goal, and also to a goal one second after the end of another power-play chance.

"Defensively, earlier in the year, we gave up too many goals," Healey said. "We made an adjustment there, went with more of a speed team with Wright and/or Kelly, Doug Neely on the side along with Lance [Johnson] and Derrick [Marcano]. This lets us put more pressure a little bit farther out."

Chinapoo playing again

When the Blast plays Harrisburg on Saturday, the Heat will have its coach, Richard Chinapoo, in uniform. Chinapoo did the same thing last year and helped lead the Heat to the playoffs.

Chinapoo, 42, has come out of retirement to try to help his team improve on a 2-5 record. He's signed a 15-day playing contract.

Marcelo Carrera, 37, also has come out of retirement to play with St. Louis.

Wade, Pappas honored

Kansas City Attack midfielder Wes Wade is the NPSL's Offensive Player of the Week after scoring 15 points in a two-game split with Wichita. The second was a 31-21 Attack loss Saturday after Kansas City had taken a 13-2 lead. The Wings then went on a 24-2 run, and a 29-8 rally overall.

Philadelphia goalkeeper Peter Pappas was named Defensive Player of the Week after holding the Blast to 10 points Friday night and the Heat to nine on Saturday.

Miscellaneous

Blast forward Mark Thomas was placed on the 15-day disabled list after reinjuring his shoulder Friday against Philadelphia. Thomas hurt the shoulder the week before. Brad Smith takes his place on the roster. Marcano will play his 100th game for the Blast on Friday in Cleveland. The Edmonton Drillers remain the league's only undefeated team with five wins.

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