3rd-quarter spree lifts Blast past KiXX, 19-11

Cabral's 10 points help solidify playoff position


March 23, 2002|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

The story changed last night at the Baltimore Arena.

When the time came to win, it was the Blast, behind a stellar 10-point performance from Denison Cabral, that was able to turn it up a notch and then some to leave the other team behind.

That it was against the Philadelphia KiXX, which has had its way with the Blast this season, only made the resounding 19-11 win before 3,627 that much more satisfying for the home team, which came in having lost eight of its past nine games.

The Blast improved to 15-20 and solidified the fourth and final playoff spot in next month's Major Indoor Soccer League playoffs, moving 2 1/2 games in front of the idle Cleveland Crunch (13-23), with back-to-back games against the last-place Harrisburg Heat. The Blast will visit the Heat (8-29) tonight and then return home for a 3:05 p.m. start tomorrow.

For one electrifying quarter, the pivotal third, all of the Blast's recent woes were dismissed. Four goals on four shots over a five-minute span were followed by two more two-pointers in the fourth quarter to turn a 7-4 deficit into a 16-7 lead. The 12 unanswered points came after the KiXX (25-13) had broken a 4-4 tie on a three-point goal from Kevin Sloan early in the quarter.

"You look at it and they score the three-point goal early in the quarter and those were the things that had been leading to our downfall, but we talked about character-building before the game and we saw the character of the team at that point," said Blast coach Kevin Healey. "Rather than folding our tent, we came back with probably the strongest quarter of the year."

If the third quarter was indeed electrifying, the fourth quarter was filled with resilience. The KiXX, which has won seven of nine from the Blast this season, opened with two consecutive two-point goals to cut the lead to 16-11 with 10:17 left, but the door was quickly shut with a three-point goal from Cabral - giving him his fourth straight 100-point season and his team a 19-11 lead that would stand.

"I was very fortunate to get a ball on the right. A lot of people say I'm going to go to the right, so don't worry about my left, but I did," Cabral said. "It was important because our team needed that goal at that time."

The Blast also got one goal and two assists each from Sean Bowers and Paul Wright, three points from newcomer Lester Felician, and a goal from Tarik Walker that gave him 600 career points. Keeper Scott Hileman, returning from a two-game suspension, finished with 12 saves getting solid support in front of him throughout.

NOTE: Defender Dewan Bader returns to the Blast tonight in Harrisburg after completing his three-game suspension stemming from the March 3 altercaton against the Heat.

Philadelphia 2 2 3 4 - 11

Blast 4 0 10 5 - 19

First quarter: 1. Blast, Walker, 2 pt., (Bowers), 8:06; 2. Blast, Cabral, 2 pt., (Wright), 11:04; 3. Philadelphia, D'Ambra, 2 pt, (Morris), 12:52. Penalties: Philadelphia, Bartolomeu, (tripping), 9:12

Second quarter: 4. Philadelphia, D'Ambra, 2 pt., (Marinos), 7:24. Penalties: none.

Third quarter: 5. Philadelphia, Sloan, 3 pt., 1:01; 6. Blast, Bowers, 2 pt., (Wright), 3:40; 7. Blast, Felician, 2 pt., (Bowers), 5:49; 8. Blast, Johnson, pt., 6:35; 9. Blast, Cabral, 2 pt., (Felician), 8:52; 10. Blast, Cabral, 2 pt., (Tschantret), 12:55. Penalties: Philadelphia, Boney, (tripping), 1212.

Fourth quarter: 11. Blast, Wright, 2 pt., (Cabral), 1:25; 12. Philadelphia, Bartolomeu, 2 pt., (Handsor), 1:42; 13. Philadelphia, DePalma, 2 pt., (Namazi), :43; 14. Cabral, 3 pt., (Johnson), 5:36. Penalties: Blast, Kremer, (boarding), 2:38. Shots on goal: Philadelphia 8-3-5-14 - 30; Blast 12-5-14-3 - 34. Power-play opportunities: Philadelphia 1-for-1; Blast 2-for-2. Shootout opportunities: Philadelphia 0-for-0; Blast 0-for-0. Goalkeepers: Philadelphia, Dobson, 24 shots, 15 saves; Blast, Hileman, 17 shots, 12 saves. A: 3,627.

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