Big Blast push comes too late, 13-8

Late 6-point run cuts lead to two, but KiXX hold on


January 12, 2003|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The Blast is still looking for a winning streak.

After an impressive victory over Dallas Friday, the Blast was hoping to make it two straight last night versus Philadelphia. The KiXX had other ideas, however, and held off a Blast rally for a 13-8 victory before 4,213 at 1st Mariner Arena.

The Blast fell to 7-14 and still hasn't put together back-to-back victories this season. Philadelphia (16-3) used a 10-point run to build a 10-2 lead early in the fourth quarter and then held on as the Blast rallied for six unanswered points to cut the lead to two.

The KiXX now have beaten the Blast in all four meetings this season by a combined 57-33, but this was its best effort against Philadelphia; the other three losses were blowouts.

Blast coach Bobby McAvan said he loved how hard his team played in the final quarter in cutting an eight-point lead to two. He said more of that intensity earlier would have helped the Blast in this game.

"You can't beat a championship team by playing one quarter," McAvan said. "We showed good character and we fought ourselves back into the game. We just ran out of clock."

McAvan said a winning streak would be a big plus for the Blast for several reasons.

"It's a booster. It's a confidence booster," he said. "We've simply got to have it. We're in the second half of the season and haven't won two consecutive games."

The Blast slowed Philadelphia's offense early, trailing just 4-2 at halftime. Goalie Scott Hileman (13 saves) kept his team close in the first half with several spectacular stops.

The Blast took a 2-0 lead when P.J. Wakefield controlled a Denison Cabral pass off the boards and poked the ball past Philadelphia goalie Peter Pappas 4:10 into the game. Philadelphia slowly took command after that as the Blast couldn't finish several good scoring chances.

Gary DePalma tied the score by tapping in a rebound midway through the first period. Joel Shanker then gave the KiXX a 4-2 lead 25 seconds into the second period.

Philadelphia scored two more two-point goals in the third period for an 8-2 lead. DePalma made a steal near midfield and found Don D'Ambra, who scored from the right wing with 4:28 left in the period. Shanker added an unassisted, power-play goal with 1:32 remaining in the quarter.

Cesidio Colasante stretched the lead to 10-2 with a two-point goal 13 seconds into the final quarter before the Blast offense finally awoke. Giuliano Celenza and Tarik Walker scored 33 seconds apart, cutting the KiXX lead to 10-6 with 12:18 remaining.

Walker scored a power-play goal, and the Blast got another with 10:20 left. Lee Tschantret then headed in a Cabral pass from the doorstep to make it 10-8.

"We battled back [late]," Wakefield said. "In the fourth quarter, we all decided we were going to pressure Pappas. We've been playing better."

The KiXX tightened up on defense after that. McAvan pulled Hileman for sixth attacker Danny Kelly with 1:54 left. Kelly had the Blast's last shot with about 10 seconds remaining. It was blocked by Philadelphia's Glenn Carbonara, who rolled a long shot from past midfield into the empty net for a three-point goal with 3.5 seconds left.

"We're coming together now," Celenza said. "We're playing better on both sides of the ball. We've just got to put a little more together."

Philadelphia 2 2 4 5 - 13

Blast 2 0 0 6 - 8

First quarter: 1. Blast, Wakefield, 2 pt., (Cabral), 4:10; 2. Philadelphia, DePalma, 2 pt., (Lunsford), 7:28. Penalties: none. Second quarter: 3. Philadelphia, Shanker, 2 pt., (Boney), 0:25. Penalties: none. Third quarter: 4. Philadelphia, D'Ambra, 2 pt., (DePalma), 10:32; 5. Philadelphia, Shanker, 2 pt., pp, 13:34. Penalties: Blast, Cabral (pushing), 12:44. Fourth quarter: 6, Philadelphia, Colasante, 2 pt., 0:13; 7, Blast, Celenza, 2 pt., 2:09; 8. Blast, Walker, 2 pt., (Kelly), pp, 2:42; 9, Blast, Tschantret, 2 pt., (Walker), pp, 4:40; 10. Philadelphia, Carbonara, 3 pt., en, 14:56. Penalties: Philadelphia, Scigliano (tripping), 2:40; Philadelphia, D'Ambra (boarding), 3:46. Shots on goal: Philadelphia 4-10-5-5-24; Blast 3-4-2-11-20. Power-play opportunities: Philadelphia 1-for-1; Blast 2-for-2. Goalkeepers: Philadelphia, Pappas, 11 shots, 7 saves; Blast, Hileman, 18 shots, 13 saves; Kelly 1 shot, 0 saves. A-4,213.

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