MISL Eastern Division finals preview: Rochester Lancers (11-13) at Blast (18-6)

March 09, 2012|By Glenn Graham, The Baltimore Sun

Game 1: Saturday, 7:35 p.m.

Site: 1st Mariner Arena

Video: baltimoreblast.com/schedule/broadcastschedule

Outlook: The Blast headed into the two-game MISL Eastern Division finals on a high note, closing out the regular season with four straight wins to overtake the Central Division champion Milwaukee Wave for the best record in the league. The Division finals are a home-and-home series with the second game slated for Monday in Rochester. If the series is tied after the two games, a 15-minute mini game will immediately follow Monday's game to decide which team advances to the league championship. If the game is tied after the 15 minutes, the teams will play 15-minute sudden death periods. The Blast had its way with the expansion Lancers throughout the regular season, winning all four meetings by an average score of 13-6. But the Lancers gave Baltimore a tough go in the last meeting, on Jan. 28, falling 8-7. Offensively, the Blast is led by the dynamic one-two punch of Max Ferdinand (72 points for fourth in the league) and Machel Millwood (71 points, fifth). The Lancers counter with Mauricio Salles (81 points, second) and Doug Miller ( 66 points, sixth). Defense is where the teams largely differ, with the Blast's consistent effort to get players behind the ball gives them an edge. Veteran goalkeeper Sagu finished tops in the league in points allowed per game (9.61), while the Lancers allowed permitted 13-plus points per outing during the regular season. The Wave and Missouri Comets meet in the Central Division finals.

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