Impact halts Blast's winning streak at 7

Defense allows season high in points in 22-20 defeat

January 17, 2000|By Dan Hickling | Dan Hickling,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

MONTREAL -- The good times don't roll on forever.

For the Blast, which came into Montreal yesterday afternoon riding a seven-game winning streak, the good times were, for the moment at least, interrupted with its 22-20 loss to the Impact in a clash of division leaders.

Eight players scored for the Blast, led by Denison Cabral, who netted three goals for his eighth hat trick of the season. Chris Stathopoulos also had three goals, and chipped in a pair of assists to lead Montreal.

The Blast might have been forgiven if it had started off sluggishly, considering the trouble the team had getting to the Centre Claude-Robillard, the Impact's new home.

The Blast took a morning flight out of St. Louis, only to land in the snowstorm that had blanketed Montreal, and arrived less than an hour before the scheduled kickoff.

"It was a long day," said Blast forward Danny Santoro, "but that's no excuse."

It's hard to say which was more surprising, that the Blast had legs enough to equal its season high in points, or that its normally air-tight defense was touched for the most points it had allowed all season.

"I think it was a matter of them being on their game," said Blast coach Kevin Healey. "It just developed into that kind of tempo. Montreal was playing its pressure up high, which created some chances for them and for us."

Baltimore bolted to a 6-0 first-period lead, although by halftime that edge had melted away to 13-12.

"We wanted to come out strong and go right at Montreal," Santoro said, "because that's what they do."

But some uncustomary breakdowns in the Blast back line allowed Montreal to get back into the game. John Limniates got the Impact going at 12: 32 by polishing off a two-on-one.

The Blast had held its last two opponents to a combined nine points, but Montreal broke through for 10 in the second quarter alone.

The Impact continued its surge in the third, scoring three times in a span of 46 seconds to take an 18-13 lead.

Jason Dieter tied the score at 18 at the 2: 46 mark of the third period, but the respite was short-lived, as Nick DeSantis and Stathopoulos answered to make it 22-18 for Montreal.

Cabral brought the Blast back to within two points with 1: 34 remaining with a lunging header, but it would get no closer.

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