Blast times it right in 13-4 win

Goal just before halftime sparks rout of Rockers

January 09, 2000|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Players on one team went into the locker room at halftime hugging and slapping high-fives.

The others -- the visiting Detroit Rockers -- went in shaking their heads.

Not because of the scoreboard, which showed a modest 7-4 Blast lead. But for the manner in which the last two points were recorded by the Blast, with 0.4 seconds left on the clock.

That just about did it for the Rockers, who exited the field after a 13-4 loss in front of 4,752 at the Baltimore Arena last night in much the same manner they did at halftime.

"If you're on the other end of something like that, you can't believe it," coach Kevin Healey said on the halftime-ending goal. "You're going into the locker room hitting things, going crazy. On our side of it, you love it. Not only was there hardly any time, it was all effort."

Rockers goalkeeper Alan Placek came out to play the ball along the boards as time winded down in the second period. He missed the ball, which trickled over to Danny Santoro, who found J. J. Kremer open in front of the goal.

"It went into the corner to Danny Santoro," Kremer said. "He battled hard, won the ball, then the ball went in between the keeper's legs. I was just there."

The Blast (12-7) went on to score another goal at the start of the second half when defender Lance Johnson fed forward Paul Wright on a basketball-like fast break from inside the Rockers' zone at 1: 11, putting the Blast up 9-4.

"We knew we didn't play a good first half, so we wanted to come out strong in the second," Santoro said.

Blast leading point-scorer Denison Cabral put in his lead-leading 38th goal of the season from 12 feet out at 7: 19 in the third period, putting the Blast up 11-4 and basically sealing the victory. The only question for the Blast came in the game's final six minutes, when the Rockers went to a sixth attacker, something that gave the Blast trouble in its previous game.

But Mark Thomas scored less than 30 seconds after the move, putting the Blast up 13-4 and sending the team on its way to its sixth straight win.

"We went with regular changes and didn't change our assignments," Healey said. "You look at the scoreboard and time of game and I thought that was the smart thing to do then."

The game went the way statistics would have dictated. The Rockers (7-12) are last in the National Professional Soccer League in scoring, averaging less than 10 points a game, the only team in the league under that mark.

But the Rockers are second in the league in points against and did a good job of holding down the Blast in the first period. The Blast was held scoreless through the period, and the Rockers used two one-point shootout goals by Randy Prescott to go up 2-0. But the Rockers could not take advantage of either ensuing power play after the shootout goals, and had to settle for a 2-0 lead after one.

Rodrigo Gonzalez put the Rockers up 4-0 at 6: 23 in the second quarter before Blast defender Ronnie Simmons scored perhaps the team's most important goal of the night. Simmons scored on a re-start goal outside of the three-point arc, cutting the Rockers lead to 4-3 at 9: 20 in the second quarter.

"We really weren't playing that well in the first half," Healey said. "We were struggling to score and out of our rhythm a little bit. Ronnie hit the three-pointer and all of a sudden we were one point down. It was a sigh of relief."

Blast forward Tarik Walker scored at 14: 07 of the quarter, giving the team a 5-4 lead.

NOTES: Defender Todd Hicks made his first appearance of the season last night for the Blast, replacing Doug Neely, who was placed on the injured list with a strained back muscle. Forward Erik Rasmussen also missed the game because of a recurring groin injury.

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