Hileman's big game spurs 8-2 Blast win

Goalie nearly shuts out Steamers

team expands Eastern lead to 1 1/2 games

Pro Soccer

January 10, 2004|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The Blast nearly made a bit of franchise history in last night's 8-2 victory over the St. Louis Steamers at 1st Mariner Arena.

The Blast, which doesn't have a shutout in the 12-year history of the most recent franchise (including its years as the Spirit) and goalie Scott Hileman delighted the crowd of 3,716 by holding St. Louis scoreless until midway through the fourth quarter.

The Steamers couldn't score for the first 52:36 of the 60-minute game until Sterling Wescott beat Hileman with 7:24 left in the fourth period, when the Blast held an 8-0 lead.

Jason Cole added a second St. Louis goal 1:21 after that.

Hileman finished with 14 saves as the Blast won its third straight. The team also held St. Louis without a goal for the first 40:42 of an earlier meeting.

"It would have been nice," Hileman said, who also was bidding for first shutout. "The guys deserve it, but the bottom line is we only let two goals in and that's what you want to do in this league."

The Blast's aggressive play limited St. Louis (5-11) to only a handful of scoring chances and ended the Steamers' two-game winning streak. Blast coach Tim Wittman said the shutout would have been nice, but the win meant more.

"If you get a shutout, it's a bonus," Wittman said. "Scott played great, and he made some big saves. He's at the top of his game right now."

Hileman's best save came on one of St. Louis' rare opportunities. Siphi Sibiya broke in alone, but Hileman stopped a rocket from the top of the box five minutes into the scoreless game.

The Blast (12-5) stretched its Eastern Division lead over idle Philadelphia to 1 1/2 games and held a huge, 32-18 advantage in shots - 16-4 in the first half alone - keeping former teammate Brett Phillips (10 saves) busy until he was pulled after the third period with his team trailing 7-0.

Lee Tschantret had two goals and one assist in the victory while Danny Kelly, P.J. Wakefield, Carlos Farias, Denison Cabral, David Bascome and Tarik Walker each scored once.

However, the Blast lost Walker and midfielder Allen Eller to fourth-quarter red cards and both will serve one-game suspensions, sitting out tonight's game against Dallas. Wittman said the Blast will try to appeal the suspensions.

St. Louis tried to slow the pace in the early minutes last night, holding the ball for long stretches in the first quarter before the Blast took command.

The Blast pulled the Steamers out of their slow-it-down plan with two early goals. Kelly gave his team a 1-0 lead with his shot that glanced off a St. Louis defender with 6:22 left in the first period.

Wakefield added a goal just 82 seconds later, scoring on the rebound of his own blocked shot. Farias made it 3-0 with two minutes left in the period when he finished Bascome's perfect through ball.

Tschantret gave the Blast a 4-0 halftime lead with 8:38 left in the second period.

"You never want to get shut out, so it was good to at least get a couple," St. Louis coach Daryl Doran said. "Every time we play [Hileman], he just has a great game."

St. Louis 0 0 0 2 - 2

Blast 3 1 3 1 - 8

First quarter- 1, Blast, Kelly (unassisted), 8:38; 2, Blast, Wakefield (unassisted), 10:00; 3, Blast, Farias (Bascome), 13:00. Penalties - None. Second quarter - 4, Blast, Tschantret (Handsor), 6:22. Penalties- None. Third quarter - 5, Blast, Cabral (Farias), 7:43; 6, Blast, Bascome (Tschantret), 13:25; 7, Blast, Walker (unassisted), 14:43. Penalties - St. Louis bench (too many men, served by Sibiya), 10:26. Fourth quarter - 8, Blast, Tschantret (Nelson), 7:00; 9, St. Louis, Wescott (Thomas), 7:36; 10, St. Louis, Cole (unassisted). Penalties - Blast, Walker (serious foul, elbow to the face, red card, served by Cabral), 2:28; Blast, Farias (misconduct), 5:22; St. Louis, Caution (misconduct), 5:22; Blast, Eller (violent conduct, red card, served by Bascome), 13:55. Shots on goal - St. Louis 2-2-5-9-18, Blast 10-6-9-7-32. Power play opportunities - St. Louis 0-2, Blast 0-1. Goalkeepers - St. Louis, Phillips (17 shots, 10 saves), Hernandez (6 shots, 5 saves); Blast, Hileman (16 shots, 14 saves). A-3,716.

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