Blast gives its all, but weariness, Wave win

Flight delays no help against top team, 11-8

February 24, 2002|By Ricardo Arguello | Ricardo Arguello,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

MILWAUKEE - Entering with a three-game losing streak, including a four-point defeat at the hands of Kansas City on Friday night, Blast head coach Kevin Healey wondered if things could get any worse yesterday against the league-leading Milwaukee Wave.

They could - and did.

Not only did the Blast have to play the Wave, undefeated at the Bradley Center this season, but just getting to the arena proved to be a problem. It all added up to an 11-8 loss in front of 5,905 that left Healey questioning what might have been.

"We woke up at 4 this morning and we had flight problems," Healey said. "So, we finally made it here at noon, and let me say that our players really just played their hearts out here today. We went into the fourth quarter with it being close. I was pleased with how we performed today under a very tough assignment.

"We had breakfast set up here and we couldn't do that. We had to eat and go at the airport. And our flight kept getting delayed and then it was finally canceled. But we showed that we were professionals and came in here and fought hard."

Despite the fatigue, it was the Blast that struck first, with forward Giuliano Celenza's goal providing a 2-0 lead just 3:23 into the game.

Milwaukee didn't take long to answer, with Todd Dusosky parlaying a Sinisa Alebic pass into a two-point goal that evened the contest just a minute later. Dusosky also had two assists for the Wave (23-6).

The Wave took a 4-2 lead 26 seconds into the second quarter on a goal from Brian Loftin, only to watch the lead evaporate minutes later on a two-point goal from Celenza, who beat Wave goalie Victor Nogueira after a brief volley exchange in front of the goal.

Joe Reiniger, the third-leading scorer in the MISL, increased his scoring streak to 102 games on a three-pointer just under a minute later to put Milwaukee up 7-4.

The Blast refused to wilt, however, with a goal from Danny Santoro making it a one-point game heading into halftime.

Nursing the 7-6 lead, and having consistency problems on offense, Milwaukee rose to the occasion on defense in the second half.

The Wave held the Blast scoreless in the third quarter, and after a goal from Glenn Carbonara increased Milwaukee's lead to 9-6, Milwaukee played keep-away for the remainder of the game.

The Blast continued to hang onto fourth place in the MISL, but defender Sean Bowers said his team's three games next weekend could prove pivotal.

"Two of those games are at home and the other is at Harrisburg, so next weekend could pretty much make or break the playoffs for us," Bowers said. "If we win, we can put some distance between us and Cleveland. That'll make our job easier."

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