Thunder wins, 15-14, takes 1st alone

The Baltimore Thunder took sole possession of first place in the American Division of the Major Indoor Lacrosse League last night, beating the New York Saints, 15-14, before 8,109 at the Baltimore Arena.

The victory was the third in a row for the Thunder (3-2), which now travels for two games and returns home March 2 to play the Pittsburgh Bulls.


The Thunder scored the first two goals of the game and nevetrailed, although the Saints (2-3) tied the game at 5 early in the second period.

Baltimore's Jeff Gombar made 33 saves, and Tom Manos, who finished up in the fourth quarter, had six saves.


Tim Welsh, with three goals and an assist, led the Thunder in scoring, and Jim Huelskamp had a goal and two assists. Rick Sowell had a goal and an assist, and Bart Aldridge and John Heil each had two assists.

Mike Cummings scored four goals for New York, and Bob Cook and Jeff Nicklas each had two goals. Vinnie Pfeifer, 25 saves, and Sal Locasio, 12 saves, played goal for the Saints.

In the third period, the Thunder lost Todd Canby, who was the third man in a fight. Canby received a five-minute penalty and was ejected.

"The key to our win was getting two short-handed goals when we were a man down for five minutes," said Thunder general manager Darrell Russell. "We could have really been in a hole because New York could have scored as many goals as possible during the non-releasable penalty. But Tim Welsh and Jeff Jackson came up with a pair of very big goals for us."

"It was a very exciting, hard-hitting game, and I'm sure the fans had a good time. It wasn't an outstanding crowd, but how can you complain when you put 8,000 people in the building?"

The Thunder held a 15-12 lead with five minutes remaining, and with Baltimore playing in a defensive shell, New York scored the final two goals, the last with one second remaining.

"We played well enough to win," said New York general manager Tom Flately. "If we didn't have a couple of those goals disallowed, we would have won."

New York had four goals disallowed because of men in the crease.


The Thunder opened a 5-2 lead on goals by Tim Welsh, Matt Lewandowski, Todd Canby, Dave Smith and John Nostrand. The Saints cut the margin to 5-4 on Bob Codignotto's goal with 33 seconds remaining in the first period.