Blizzard's experience overcomes Blast, 11-8

Pikuzinski scores three in milestone 500th game

Soccer

March 12, 2000|By Mike Haim | Mike Haim,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Randy Pikuzinski made history against the Blast yesterday, and had a memorable game, too.

The Buffalo Blizzard midfielder celebrated playing his 500th career NPSL game with three goals in an 11-8 victory.

"It was a day to remember," said Pikuzinski, who became the first player in league history to reach that milestone. "I hope there's a lot more games to come."

"I know how it's been to play eight years," said midfielder Barry Stitz, who is the Blast's most veteran player with 287 games. "The fact he's played 15 shows his durability. He's a good all-around player."

Pikuzinski opened the scoring 5: 13 into the game with a two-point goal. He added another 1: 06 later to cap a 6-0 run. Buffalo never trailed.

"That set the tone," Pikuzinski said. Baltimore "didn't play for five days and they were kind of flat in the first half."

Said Blast coach Kevin Healey: "It was disappointing. In most of our losses this year, we got down early."

"You have to play from the beginning of the game," said midfielder Denison Cabral, who scored two goals and added an assist for the Blast.

Pikuzinski completed his hat trick with a two-pointer off a rebound with 3: 41 remaining in the third quarter. That goal put Buffalo up 9-6.

Baltimore's Jason Dieter closed it to 9-8, tipping home a two-pointer with 1: 05 to go in the third quarter. But the Blast was shut out in the fourth quarter and Doug Miller provided Buffalo with insurance on a two-point goal with 4: 59 remaining.

The Blast used an extra attacker for the final 3: 52 but came up empty. With eight seconds remaining, Baltimore had a free kick but couldn't capitalize.

"They needed a three-pointer," said Pikuzinski. "We basically said if they want to score two points, let them. I was sure we could hold off eight seconds if they scored a two-pointer."

"We put ourselves in position to win the game," said Healey. "It was a big game for them, and they took it to us."

Baltimore remains atop the East Division with a 22-14 record. Second-place Philadelphia was three games behind before last night's game against Harrisburg.

Blast 0 2 6 0 -- 8

Buffalo 6 1 2 2 -- 11

First quarter--1, Buffalo, Pikuzinski 2 pt. (Zavala), 5: 13; 2, Buffalo, Britton 2 pt. (Hesch), 5: 40; 3, Buffalo, Pikuzinski 2 pt. (DiNunzio), 6: 19.

Second quarter--4, Blast, Cabral 2 pt. (Rasmussen), 5: 40; 5, Buffalo, Crawford 1 pt. (shootout goal), 10: 55. Penalties--Simmons, Blast (tripping), 10: 55; Britton, Buffalo (holding), 13: 48.

Third quarter--6, Blast, Cabral 2 pt. (Kelly), 0: 54; 7, Blast, Johnson 2 pt. (Cabral), 4: 06; 8, Buffalo, Pikuzinski 2 pt. (Barber), 12: 19; 9, Blast, Dieter 2 pt. (Thomas), 13: 55.

Fourth quarter--10, Buffalo, Miller 2 pt. (Britton), 10: 01.

Shots on goal--Blast 5-8-4-16--33, Buffalo 7-9-2-7--25. Goalies--Blast, Hileman 19 shots 13 saves, Kelly 0 shots. Buffalo, Pena 24 shots , 20 saves. A--8,101.

Pub Date: 3/12/00

Blast today

Opponent: Philadelphia KiXX

Site: First Union Spectrum, Philadelphia

Time: 4: 05 p.m.

Radio: WCBM (680 AM)

Outlook: This is the second of back-to-back road games for the Blast. The last time these teams met, on Feb. 26 at Baltimore Arena, the Blast dropped an 11-9 decision after a fight-filled fourth quarter, resulting in six penalties and three ejections.

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