Blast rallies to lead, then loses it, 24-22

Crunch's 3-pointer at end trumps 10-0 visitors surge


January 20, 2002|By Chuck Murr | Chuck Murr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

CLEVELAND - A 10-0 run in the fourth quarter gave the Blast good cause for celebrating last night.

But not so fast.

The joy of Lee Tschantret scoring with 50 seconds to play for a 22-21 lead turned to despair 22 seconds later when John Ball's three-pointer gave the Cleveland Crunch a wild 24-22 victory, ending the Blast's three-game winning streak.

"You've got to play the whole game," said Denison Cabral, who had four goals and two assists for the visitors (10-10). "You can't stop playing and celebrate. You just can't lose in the final seconds, but we did and it's a big lesson. A big lesson."

Tschantret scored the final six points of the Blast's frantic 10-0 run from a 21-12 deficit. That came after Cabral had twice converted restart passes by Paul Wright to spark the rally.

"I'm proud of the comeback, but disappointed in the loss," Blast coach Kevin Healey said. "We gave up the ball too easily early in the game. We played great in the second and fourth quarters, but need a consistent effort."

Ball negated the rally with a bouncing shot that eluded goalkeeper Scott Hileman.

"I think Scott was screened and never saw it," Healey said. "That's indoor soccer."

Ball said he was not really trying to score.

"I was just trying to put it in the mix, put it in front," Ball said. "I wound up to really shoot it, then saw Butch [Steve Butcher] and sent it near him, hopeful that he could deflect it in. Hileman had sloppy hands and, what do you know?"

Butcher scored three goals, including a key three-pointer, and MISL scoring leader Hector Marinaro had two goals and three assists for Cleveland, which ended a team-record, seven-game losing streak.

"Any win would have been exciting," first-year Crunch coach Mike Pilger said. "This was unbelievable."

Shoddy defense and poor passing by the Blast, coupled with opportunistic scoring by the last-place Crunch, left the visitors in trouble.

Butcher stole a Blast clearing pass and hit a three-pointer to cap a 9-0 Crunch run that gave Cleveland a 15-8 lead at 9:24 of the third quarter.

The Blast appeared sluggish from the outset, failing to clear the ball out of its zone on two early goals. Butcher opened the scoring at 8:33 of the first quarter and Chad James made it 4-0 just 58 seconds later. The Blast had no fouls in the first quarter, indicative of its early lethargy.

Baltimore picked up the pace, dominated the second quarter and appeared headed for its fifth victory in the last six games.

Cabral scored easily from out in front at 6:32 and Tarik Walker tied it at 10:41 with a shot into the far corner of the goal.

Ball scored a power-play goal on a header for Cleveland 2:09 before halftime to make it 6-4, but Wright countered for the Blast 22 seconds later.

Wright was given a misconduct penalty for excessive celebrating, however, resulting in a Cleveland shootout attempt.

Hileman preserved the 6-6 tie by snuffing the shootout by Marinaro and the Blast went ahead on a goal by Bowers 1:13 before halftime.

Cleveland quickly took a 10-8 lead in the first 1:39 of the second half on goals by Butcher and Marinaro.

Veteran Andy Schmetzer, playing in his first game since coming out of retirement, made it 12-8 by taking a pass from Marinaro and scoring at 5:20 of the third quarter.

Blast 0 8 4 10 - 22

Cleveland 4 2 11 7 - 24

First quarter-1, Cle, Butcher (Pizzolitto) 2 pt, 8:33; 2, Cle, James (Marinaro) 2 pt., 9:31. Penalties-None.

Second quarter-3, Bal, Cabral (Wright), 2 pt., 6:32; 4, Bal, Walker (Bowers) 2 pt., 10:41; 5, Cle, Ball (Marinaro) 2 pt., PPG, 12:51; 6, Bal, Wright (unassisted) 2 pt., 13:13; 7, Bal, Bowers (Tschantret) 2 pt., 13:47. Penalties-Cle, Reda (pushing) 12:18; Bal, Cabral (pushing) 12:18; Bal, Johnson (elbowing) 12:18; Bal, Wright (misconduct) 13:13.

Third quarter-8, Cle, Butcher (Schmetzer) 2 pt., :40; 9, Cle, Marinaro (Suarez) 2 pt., 1:39; 10, Cle, Schmetzer (Marinaro) 2 pt., 5:51; 11, Cle, Butcher (unassisted) 3 pt., 9:24; 12, Bal, Cabral (Walker) 2 pt., 9:39; 13, Cle, Sedgewick (Vasic) 2 pt., PPG, 10:58; 14, Bal, Celenza (Cabral) 2 pt., PPG, 11:58. Penalty-Cle, Pizzolitto (tripping) 11:33.

Fourth quarter-15, Cle, Marinaro (James) 2 pt., :31; 16, Cle, Sedgewick (Vasic) 2 pt., 3:01; 17, Bal, Cabral (Wright) 2 pt. 7:00; 18, Bal, Cabral (Wright) 2 pt., 9:19; 19, Bal, Tschantret (Cabral) 2 pt., PPG, 10:29; 20, Bal, Tschantret (Wright) 2 pt., 11:43; 21, Bal, Tschantret (Walker) 2 pt., 14:10; 22, Cle, Ball (Schmetzer), 3 pt., 14:32. Penalty-Cle, Ball (handball) 9:54.

Shots on goal: Blast 6-18-11-15--50, Cleveland 12-10-13-7--42. Power-play opportunities: Blast 2-2, Cleveland 1-1. Goalkeepers: Blast, Hileman 29 shots, 18 saves, Wright, 0 shots, 0 saves; Cleveland, Larkin 32 shots, 31 saves, Ball 0 shots, 0 saves. A: 2,986.

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