Blast leaves Ambush 6-5 loser

Defense is dominant for second straight game


January 16, 2000|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

For about three seconds, those at the Baltimore Arena figured the Blast had scored the goal that put the game with St. Louis out of reach.

That was about how long it took the referee to rule Lance Johnson's header with two minutes left in the third period a no-goal, spoiling the celebration that had erupted after the red goal light came on and erasing what would have been a six-point lead.

Twenty seconds later, Ambush forward Joe Reininger scored a three-point goal, cutting the Blast lead to 6-5, the margin the Blast ended up winning by in front of 6,249 last night.

"Maybe we relaxed a little bit on that goal," Johnson said. "We had the game under control. But the guy did hit a good shot."

The Blast had to hold on to its one-point lead in a fourth period that saw the Ambush go to a sixth-attacker with two minutes left in the game. Still, Blast goalkeeper Scott Hileman did not have to make any saves in the period.

"Our guys did a good job of putting them under pressure when they were in a sixth-attacker situation," Hileman said. "We didn't just sit back and let them come at us. We stayed real high and put them under pressure."

It was the second straight dominating defensive performance for the Blast, which held Detroit to four points in its previous game.

"Overall, we didn't play like we can play," said coach Kevin Healey, whose Blast plays in Montreal today at 3. "We didn't keep the ball like we should have kept the ball. Although I will say we won the type of game that people at the beginning of the season did not think we could win. People didn't think we could win a 6-5 game. Good teams should be able to win when they don't play that well."

The Ambush got on the board first off a goal by Savo Djurica at 7: 58 in the first period.

The Blast rattled off the next three goals, with the first coming from defender Todd Hicks, his first goal of the season, tying the game at 2 at 8: 53 in the second period.

Forward Paul Wright scored four minutes later on a feed from midfielder Denison Cabral, putting the Blast up 4-2.

"We practice that a lot," Wright said. "He knew exactly where to be, and where to play the ball. We just executed perfectly, just the way we do in practice."

The Blast took the 4-2 lead to halftime, and went up 6-2 on a Danny Kelly goal from Tarik Walker at 10: 34 in the third period.

The six points was the second lowest point total of the season for the Blast. Statistically, the team did have some opportunities. It outshot the Ambush 43-15, and several shots bounced off the post.

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