Two last-minute goals lift Sockers by Blast, 6-4


SAN DIEGO -- For a moment, it looked as if the Baltimore Blast might get off the long train to nowhere, but Rod Castro's goal with 46 seconds to play broke a tie, and the San Diego Sockers went on to a 6-4 win that handed Baltimore its ninth consecutive road loss.

After Domenic Mobilio tied the score, 4-4, at 12 minutes, 41 seconds of the fourth quarter, Castro took a pass from Waad Hirmez on a breakaway and beat goalie Hank Henry for the winning score. Wes Wade added a goal with seconds remaining after Baltimore pulled Henry for an additional attacker.

Hirmez bounced his second goal of the night off of the crossbar on a power play at 6:12 of the fourth quarter to break a 3-3 tie, but Mobilio tied it on an assist by Mike Stankovic.

Baltimore has lost five straight, and its road losing streak is one shy of the club record set in 1985-86.

But the Blast also came to San Diego with a week of rest and had a score to settle after an 8-4 loss at the San Diego Sports Arena on Feb. 23.

San Diego won its 17th straight home game. With Mobilio in the penalty box for holding, Hirmez took a pass from Branko Segota on a breakaway and slammed it into the crossbar past Henry. The ball landed outside the goal line, but the red light began flashing, and the Blast did not argue the call with the officials.

Baltimore opened the scoring at 3:48 of the first quarter. Dale Mitchell boxed out Sockers defender Jim Gabarra and tapped the ball back to Billy Ronson in the slot. Ronson fired it from the top of the penalty box past goalie Victor Nogueria for his 34th goal of the season.

San Diego tied the score at 11:12 of the first on Paul Wright's 31st goal of the season. After having little luck against a hustling Baltimore defense, the Sockers got their fast break going with goalie Nogueria feeding the ball to Wright at midfield. Wright juked past Richard Chinapoo and scored on a shot from the red line.

The first quarter ended with San Diego botching a two-man power play advantage. Rusty Troy was sent to the box for unsportsmanlike conduct in the Sockers zone at 11:59, and Ronson was called about a minute later for kicking.

The remaining Blast players on the floor closed ranks around Henry, and San Diego chose to play a four-corner passing game, looking in vain for an opening until 13:51, when Paul Dougherty was called for unsportsmanlike conduct, stepping on Mitchell's foot.

San Diego took a 2-1 lead at 10:48 of the second quarter on a goal by Glenn Carbonara, who signed with San Diego in October after being released by the Blast. Carbonara knocked in a loose ball after Castro's shot from the red line hit the goal post and then bounced off Blast defender Bruce Savage.

Baltimore tied it, 2-2, at 4:02 of the third quarter when Mobilio slipped the ball from the corner past defender Kevin Crow to rookie Chris Reif in front of the goal. It was Reif's first shot in the MSL. It wasn't pretty, but it was enough to beat the best goalie in the league and tie the score, 2-2.

The Blast took a 3-2 lead at 8:22 on a corner kick that was headed off Crow by Mark Mettrick and then deflected in by Mobilio, who had stationed himself at the right goal post. It was Mobilio's 39th of the season.

The Blast killed off a power play after Mike Stankovic was called for unsportsmanlike conduct, his 50th and 51st penalty minutes of the season, five short of the MSL record. But San Diego tied the game at the end of the third quarter when the Blast did not get its defense set on a restart kick at 14:46, and Hirmez quick-kicked a goal.

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