Recharged Blast fizzles vs. Heat, 22-13

Last-place Harrisburg had lost five straight in series

Petras saves 19

Soccer

March 24, 2002|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Maybe nobody told the Harrisburg Heat it had been eliminated from the Major Indoor Soccer League playoffs the previous night.

And maybe somebody should tell the Blast that while it currently holds the fourth and final spot, nothing can be taken for granted - particularly a last-place Heat team that came into last night's game with some added incentive.

Fresh off a character-building win over the Philadelphia KiXX 24 hours before, the Blast was unable to sustain the positive swing, falling behind early last night and never challenging in a back-to-square-one 22-13 loss to the Heat before 4,282 at the Farm Show Arena.

The last time the two teams met here, on March 3, a 15-10 Blast win, there were 19 penalty minutes and a post-game brawl that resulted in a number of fines and suspensions. This time? No penalties with only one team - the 9-29 Heat - showing any consistent intensity used in a productive way.

The Blast (15-21) hasn't taken well to prosperity all season long, and nothing changed last night against a team it had beaten five straight times. It does, however, remain 2 1/2 games in front of fifth-place Cleveland, which dropped a 16-11 decision in Kansas City last night.

The Heat, eliminated from playoff contention with Friday's 16-10 loss to the Milwaukee Wave, jumped out to an early 5-0 lead, went on to score five restart goals and got a 19-save performance from keeper Doug Petras to win going away. The two teams will meet again at 3 p.m. this afternoon at Baltimore Arena.

"It's disappointing because we gave up some bad goals early, which let them build some confidence early. It was a team that had nothing to lose that came out hard and beat us," said Blast coach Kevin Healey. "I thought our energy was better in the second half, but you get down and it's not that easy. And Petras made some good saves."

The Heat protected a 10-4 halftime lead with some stellar second-half play from Petras and staying on the attack. Blast midfielder Denison Cabral, coming off a 10-point performance in the Blast's 19-11 win against Philadelphia, recorded his sixth three-goal performance of the season to finish with seven points, but the Heat got an eight-point performance from defender Matt Knowles to continually stay a step ahead.

After the Blast cut it to 16-13 on a three-pointer from Cabral with two minutes left, Heat midfielder Jason Webb answered with a three-pointer to put the game away.

"If we're not going to make the playoffs, why not try to knock someone else out, too? We have sour tastes in our mouths about this season, and hopefully we can do it to someone else" said Knowles.

"We had a lot of emotion before the game, but it was a professional and clean game with no problems, and that's important."

The telling statistic early was the shots on goal at the end of the first quarter: Heat 16, Blast 9.

Getting to the ball first and behind the Blast defenders regularly helped the Heat build a 5-2 lead after one quarter and a 10-4 halftime lead.

Knowles, who was involved in the March 3 altercation, was the Heat catalyst with a pair of two-point goals and a three-point tally. Most of the Blast's offense came from Cabral, who scored two two-point goals and a three-pointer .

Blast 2 2 4 5 - 13

Harrisburg 5 5 4 5 - 22

First quarter: 1. Harrisburg, Knowles, 2 pt., (Kvello), 4:11; 2. Harrisburg, Tanzini, 3 pt., 10:11; 3. Blast, Cabral, 2 pt., (Wright), 13:40. Second quarter: 4. Harrisburg, Knowles, 2 pt., (Karic), :18; 5. Harrisburg, Knowles, 3 pt., (Tanzini), 3:59; 6. Blast, Cabral, 2 pt., (Wright), 9:58. Third quarter: 7. Blast, Celenza, 2 pt., (Kelly), 3:00; 8. Harrisburg, Regis, 2 pt., (Petras), 5:37; 9. Blast, Santoro, 2 pt., 13:54; 10. Harrisburg, Tanzini, 2 pt., (Karic), 14:37. Fourth quarter: 11. Blast, Wright, 2 pt., (Fraser), 1:23; 12. Harrisburg, Feniger, 2 pt., (Barber), 10:25; 13. Blast, Cabral, 3 pt., (Wright), 13:00; 14. Harrisburg, Webb, 3 pt., (Knowles), 13:41; 15. Harrisburg, Regis, 3 pt., (Barber), 14:32. Shots on goal: Blast 9-4-12-7 - 39; Harrisburg 16-5-11-13 - 38. Power-play opportunities: Blast 0-for-0; Harrisburg 0-for-0. Shootout opportunities: Blast 0-for-0; Harrisburg 0-for-0. Goalkeepers: Blast, Hileman, 20 saves; Harrisburg, Petras, 19 saves. A - 4,282.

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