Blast scores 13 in fourth, blows away Edmonton

Wright, Thomas, Dieter punctuate 22-12 win

February 26, 2000|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Coach Kevin Healey won't deny that his team has more talent than last season's, which finished with one fewer win than the Blast now has this winter.

But when it comes to the real difference between the teams, he pointed to the fourth period and the Blast's recent dominating performances at game's end.

"It's about conditioning and a championship mentality," said Healey, whose team outscored Edmonton 13-4 in the final quarter en route to a 22-12 win last night before 3,711 at Baltimore Arena. "Last year, we were worried going into the fourth quarter. This year, we have that mentality. If you step it up, you'll win the game."

The Blast (20-11) held a 9-8 advantage at the start of the final period, but defender Jason Dieter's goal off a feed from Paul Wright put the team up 11-8 with just 1: 38 gone.

Less than three minutes later, Mark Thomas added his second goal of the night, a three-pointer, and Wright put the Blast up 16-8 off a Thomas assist at 9: 21 of the period.

The run was reminiscent of the Blast's previous game, in which it scored a league-record 19 points in the fourth quarter.

Thomas continued his outstanding play, getting a hat trick on one two-point goal and two three-pointers.

But Wright had the Blast's biggest night, scoring three times, posting an assist, and using his speed to be a pest for the Drillers (16-13). His legs were the major factor in his goal off the Thomas feed. Wright ran past two defenders as Thomas slipped him the ball from a wing, putting him one-on-one against Drillers goalkeeper Paul Shepherd.

"He is getting his indoor legs back and his indoor mind-set back," Healey said of Wright, who played for Major League Soccer's Kansas City Wizards last year. "His speed kills people. He strikes the ball real well. He didn't do it all by himself, but it was a big performance by him."

Dieter also had a good night, scoring the game's final goal, a three-point empty-netter. His and Thomas' three-pointers 18 seconds apart with just over a minute left squashed a mini-Edmonton rally that cut the lead to 16-12 with less than four minutes remaining.

"We were playing well, not only in the game, but the quarter," said Thomas, who scored his career-high fourth three-point goal of the season. "The main thing we said was, `Win the quarter, and we win the game,' and we did."

The game was the season's first between the teams, which Wright said helped him.

"Sometimes, it's hard to get pumped up for every single game, especially when you are going against the same teams," he said. "For me, it was fun to play somebody different and have that little bit of extra motivation. I just am looking forward to the playoffs. I wish the playoffs started tomorrow."

"We have responded against good teams," Dieter said. "We are doing well, and it is a lot of fun when you are winning."

Edmonton 0 4 4 4 -- 12

Blast 4 5 0 13 -- 22

First period--1, Blast, Wright (Cabral) 2 pt., 3: 17; 2, Blast, Rasmussen 2 pt., 13: 40.

Second period--3, Blast, Wright (Thomas) 2 pt., 1: 17; 4, Edmonton, Rattee (Vignjevic) 2 pt., 5: 40; 5, Blast, Kelly 3 pt., 10: 05; 7, Edmonton, Moore 2 pt., 12: 47.

Third period--8, Edmonton, Dailly (Vignjevic) 2 pt., 11: 58; 9, Edmonton, Vignjevic 2 pt., 13: 53.

Fourth period--10, Blast, Dieter (Wright) 2 pt., 1: 38; 11, Blast, Thomas (Kelly) 3 pt., 4: 14; 12, Blast, Wright (Thomas) 2 pt., 9: 21; 13, Edmonton, Jesik (Vignjevic) 2 pt., 10: 49; 14, Edmonton, Dailly (Sibiya) 2 pt., 11: 36; 15, Blast, Thomas 3 pt., 13: 32; 16, Blast, Dieter 3 pt., 13: 50.

Shots on goal--Edmonton 2-7-11-11 -31, Blast 9-10-8-10-37. Power-play opportunities-- Edmonton 1-for-1, Blast 0-for-0. Goalies--Edmonton, Shepherd 4-4-4-2 -14; Blast, Hileman 2-3-3-6 -14. A--3,711.

Blast tonight

Opponent: Philadelphia KiXX

Site: Baltimore Arena

Time: 7: 30

Radio: WCBM (680 AM)

Outlook: The Blast is 3-1 against Philadelphia this season. The teams have not met since mid-November, an 11-10 KiXX victory. This is the final home game before a six-game road trip for the Blast. Forward Goran Hunjak leads Philadelphia in scoring.

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