Blast loses lead, game in fourth period, 17-13

Marinaro paces Crunch

home win streak ends at 5


January 30, 2000|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

The thinking for Crunch coach Bruce Miller was to stop Blast forward Denison Cabral's shootout attempt -- which his team did -- and then kill off the ensuing two-minute power play.

With the Blast leading by a goal and 3 1/2 minutes left, Miller figured the 1 1/2 minutes he would have left would be plenty of time to score the game-winning goal.

But Crunch forward Hector Marinaro never let him get to the second part of his plan. As he has done so many times in the past, Marinaro nailed a three-point shot from the yellow line during the Blast power play with just over three minutes left in the game, then followed that up with the sealing goal two minutes later in the Crunch's 17-13 win before 5,439 last night at Baltimore Arena.

Marinaro scored five goals -- four two-pointers and a three-pointer -- on the evening.

"He is just the catalyst," Miller said. "With his partner Zoran [Karic] missing, Hector has been called upon to lead us on the offensive end of the field.

"He is a great leader. But tonight, as great as he was, the supporting cast was good."

It was only the second road win of the year for the Crunch, which ended a five-game Blast home winning streak.

The Blast held the lead for most of the game, including 13-8 in the fourth period, but the Crunch ran off the next nine points on four goals.

"As a coach, I always hate to make excuses," Blast coach Kevin Healey said. "But it was a tough week for us with the snow. Then we had a problem on our travel to Montreal. We didn't have a normal practice schedule.

"It seems like we had a little energy problem in the fourth quarter. They played last night so they deserved to win. But it wasn't our typical fourth quarter."

Paul Wright opened the scoring with a two-point goal a little over four minutes into the game, giving the Blast a 2-0 lead. But Marinaro put up the next two goals on the way to having the best individual performance against the Blast defense this season.

"He's done this against us before," Healey said. "He scored the big three-point goal."

The Blast put up the next four goals -- by Erik Rasmussen, Tarik Walker, Dension Cabral and Mark Thomas -- to take a 9-4 lead at halftime.

"We were in control," Healey said. "This was a very disappointing loss."

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