Blast pulls out win with 5 seconds left

Cabral's three-pointer ruins Heat's night, 13-11

salves pain from Friday


February 03, 2002|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

Staring bleakly at a potential second home loss in as many nights - this time to the last-place Harrisburg Heat - the Blast found an escape route with some good fortune in the closing seconds last night.

Denison Cabral's three-point shot from in front deflected off the wrist of Heat defender Wendell Regis and found the goal with five seconds left, saving the day for the Blast in a 13-11 win.

Cabral's three-pointer completed a dramatic, seven-point surge for the Blast in the final four minutes of play, turning halftime boos into a post-game celebration for the season-high crowd of 9,368 at Baltimore Arena.

Trailing 11-6 at the half, the home team went the entire third quarter and the first 10-plus minutes of the fourth without denting the Heat's lead.

Tarik Walker started the rally on a header from in front with 3:54 left, followed by an unassisted goal from Cabral with 1:07 remaining before the latter put on the finishing touches.

"It was just a great effort because we worked so hard from the beginning, but it was so hard for us to put the ball in the net," said Cabral.

"But the most important thing is we went all the way to the end and we believed it could happen and we did it. We told ourselves, `Guys, we're going to go all the way to the last seconds of this game,' and that's what happened."

After Friday's 16-11 loss to Milwaukee, the Blast had to salvage a second straight home weekend with a victory, going 2-2 in the stretch, as it once again reached .500 with a 12-12 mark to take over sole possession of third place in the Major Indoor Soccer League.

But just barely.

The Heat (7-17) fell into last place in the league the night before, scoring four points in a loss to temporary basement partner Cleveland, but appeared to have bounced back against the Blast, which struggled defensively in the second quarter and then couldn't find its way on offense until an extra attacker was necessary late.

Earlier this season, the Blast was on the other side of things with a 22-21 loss in Kansas City. Blast coach Kevin Healey said last night's result was like getting that one back.

"We had a slip-up in the second quarter. It happened. We dug a hole and then you saw how badly Harrisburg wanted to win a game," he said.

"All things certainly aren't bleak. We need to play better and we know we need to play better, but the locker room is together and things are being put in shape. And you're not going to win a championship in February. What we need to do is continue to improve."

Cabral also had an assist for a six-point night, with Lee Tschantret scoring once and contributing two assists to lead the Blast.

After taking a 6-4 lead on a doorstep goal from Tschantret 3:44 into the second quarter, the Blast unraveled during the remainder of the first half.

The Heat got the game even 32 seconds later when Lester Felician finished off a nifty give-and-go with Juan Diego in the right corner, grabbed the lead on a restart goal from David Bascome and then took an 11-6 lead into the break on a three-pointer from Regis.

Harrisburg 4 7 0 0 - 11

Blast 2 4 0 7 - 13

First quarter- 1. Harrisburg, Bascome, 2 pt., (Petras), 6:49; 2. Blast, Celenza, 2 pt., (Tschantret), 13:13; 3. Harrisburg, Kvello, 2 pt., (Felician), 14:14. Penalties - Second quarter- 4. Blast, Wright, 2 pt., (Tschantret), :33; 5. Blast, Tschantret, 2 pt., (Cabral), 3:44; 6. Harrisburg, Felician, 2 pt., (Diego), 4:16; 7. Harrisburg, Bascome, 2 pt., (Felician), 4:37; 8. Harrisburg, Regis, 3 pt., (Kvello), 5:56.Penalties - none. Third quarter: none. Penalties - none. Fourth quarter- Blast, Walker, 2 pt., (Santoro), 11:06; 10. Blast, Cabral, 2 pt., 13:53; 11. Blast, Cabral, 3 pt., 14:55. Penalties - none. Shots on goal - Harrisburg 8-8-5-4 - 24; Blast 7-7-12-19 - 46. Shootout opportunities - Harrisburg 0-for-0; Blast 0-for-0. Power-play opportunities - Harrisburg 0-for-0; Blast 0-for-0. Goalkeepers - Harrisburg, Petras, 29 shots, 23 saves; Blast, Hileman, 16 shots, 11 saves. A --9,368 .

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