Back and forth they sped Saturday night at 1st Mariner Arena, the two oldest rivals in the new Major Indoor Soccer League, teams that have won nine of the past 13 championships.
In a match that produced a lead change on virtually every score, the Milwaukee Wave capitalized on a power-play advantage and the brief absence of injured Blast goalkeeper Sagu to score a 15-12 victory before an announced 6,742 fans.
The victory in its 68th career game against the Blast enabled the Wave to capture sole possession of first place after both sides Had suffered their first defeat on New Year's Eve.
A hat trick by the dean of Blast players, Guiliano Celenza (Archbishop Curley), was not enough to repulse the Wave in the first of the two-game weekend series that resumes this afternoon in Milwaukee.
The Blast (5-2) never regained the lead after Sagu was forced out of the game for nearly three minutes after suffering an injury. He returned, but not until Milwaukee (6-1) had taken a 9-8 edge on a goal by Joe Hammes as defenseman Mike Lookingland filled in at goal with no other Blast keeper on the active roster.
Shortly thereafter, Marcio Leite scored off a rebound on the power play with Blast defender Billy Nelson in the penalty box for holding. That lifted the Wave to a three-point advantage and the Blast never caught up.
Another extra-man goal in the fourth quarter (after the Blast was penalized for too many men on the field) put the finishing touch on the victory for the Wave, which is unbeaten in four games on the road.
The Blast failed to score during its only power-play opportunity, as Milwaukee continued a season-long streak of not having allowed a goal in that situation. The pulling of Sagu for a sixth attacker in the waning minutes also failed to produce a score.
"Our man down needs to be better," said Blast coach Danny Kelly. "We have to think about whether we need to make some adjustments in that area. Overall, I don't think it was a bad performance, but we have to improve on a lot of little things. I think they won a lot of those second balls. Give them credit for coming in here and getting it done."
Kelly said Sagu, who has a groin pull, will not accompany the team to Wisconsin today. Backup Nick Hovaker will be in the net for the first time all season.
Celenza said his three-goal performance "goes out the window when you don't win the game. It's always good to score when you're a scorer. I'm just doing whatever I can for the team."
Marco Terminesi, the Wave's top scorer, had a three-point goal and three assists and Giuliano Oliviero had three feeds and a two-point goal.
Milwaukee 3 2 6 4--15
Blast 4 2 4 2--12
FIRST QUARTER: Scoring: 1. Blast, Celenza (Garcia), 1:13; 2. Milwaukee, Terminesi (3 pt. goal, unassisted), 2:38; 3. Blast, Celenza (Lookingland), 5:41. Penalties: None.
SECOND QUARTER: Scoring: 4. Milwaukee, Stewart (Terminesi), 0:49; 5. Blast, Aristodemo (Millwood), 11:26. Penalties: Rife, M, (holding), 7:51.
THIRD QUARTER: Scoring: 6. Milwaukee, Rodriguez (Oliviero), 3:47; 7. Blast, Healey (Ukah), 5:06; 8. Milwaukee, Hammes (Greenfield), 5:59; 9. Milwaukee, Leite (Terminesi, power-play goal), 8:52; 10. Blast, Celenza (Millwood), 13:11. Penalties: Nelson, B (holding), 8:14.
FOURTH QUARTER: 11. Milwaukee, Mack (Oliviero), 1:04; 12. Blast, Ferdinand (Nelson), 3:27; 13. Milwaukee, Oliviero (Terminesi, power-play goal), 5:01. Penalties: B, bench, (too many men), 4:50. .
Shots on goal: Milwaukee, 34; Blast, 31,
Saves: M: Vorberg, 18; B, Sagu 18, Aristodemo 1.