April 12, 2003|By Glenn P. Graham

Championship series

Blast vs. Milwaukee

Game 1: Today, 2 p.m., Bradley Center, Milwaukee.

Game 2: Tomorrow, 6:05 p.m., 1st Mariner Arena.

Game 3 (if necessary): Friday, 8:05 p.m., Bradley Center, Milwaukee.

Radio: All games on 1300 AM.

Outlook: The Blast is seeking Baltimore's second indoor championship; the Wave is going after its fourth crown in six years. The teams took different paths to the championship round through the regular season and playoffs. The Blast battled to reach .500 at 18-18; the Wave breezed through to the league's best record, 28-8. The Blast won the Eastern Conference title with two road games, the second an 8-6 win over defending champion Philadelphia. The Wave had a first-round bye, then held off Kansas City, 20-18, for the Western Conference title. Fast starts have been a key in the Blast's postseason. If the Wave gets an early lead, it likes to dictate play with patience and possession. In the Blast's win over the KiXX, offensive production continued from target forward Tarik Walker (two assists) and leading scorer Denison Cabral (two-point goal), and newcomer Allen Eller had the winner. Against Wave standout keeper Victor Nogueira, the Blast must get into the box and keep plugging. For the Wave, Gregory Howes and Joe Reiniger reached 100 points during the regular season, and Todd Dusosky hit 90. Brian Loftin scored four times to lead the playoff fireworks against the Comets. Blast keeper Scott Hileman will get the start this afternoon, with Brett Phillips in the net tomorrow at home. The Wave won four of five from the Blast during the season, including its third straight by a 13-8 count in Milwaukee on Feb. 23. The Blast is loose with the pressure clearly on a Wave team expected to win.

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