Spirit chills Blizzard, 17-11 Troy scores 4

Rusty Troy became the first Spirit player to score four goals in one game in leading Baltimore to a 17-11 victory over the Buffalo Blizzard last night before 5,730 at the Arena.

Troy, a 26-year-old Texan who played four years for the Blast, scored two goals in the first period as the Spirit assumed a 6-2 lead. He added two more in the third quarter for a seven-point total.


"Rusty thrives on the up-and-down style of play in this league," said Spirit coach Kenny Cooper. "It's hard work, and he's a hard worker."

Goran Hunjak also scored seven points for the Spirit on three goals and two assists.


The victory enabled the unbeaten Spirit to remain atop the National Professional Soccer League's American Division with a 4-0 record. Buffalo is 2-2.

Goalkeeper Cris Vaccaro, Cooper said, was "fabulous" in registering 23 saves, some of them spectacular.

"He made some brilliant saves at the right times," Cooper said. "He's off to a great start this year."

The game wasn't as close as the score suggests. With four minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Spirit had a commanding 15-3 lead. Buffalo scored the next four goals.

"When it got to 15-3, we got a little ragged," Cooper said.

Mike Conway, a Cardinal Gibbons graduate and one of eight Baltimore natives on the Spirit's roster, made his first pro appearance in the fourth quarter. Reserve goalkeeper Brian Hartlove is the only local who has yet to make a game appearance.

Buffalo's Paul Dougherty, who scored eight points the previous night in a win over Detroit, opened the scoring with a two-point kick at the 3:20 mark. Troy made it 2-1 on a shootout resulting from a tripping penalty against Buffalo's Rudy Pikuzinski and Hunjak tied it on a power-play goal.

Troy and Hunjak each made two-point goals in the final seconds of the quarter for a 6-2 Baltimore lead against Jamie Swanner. Swanner is the league's all-time winningest goalie with 146 victories (against 47 defeats).


Spirit goalie Cris Vaccaro saved a certain Buffalo goal in the second period, stopping David Hoggan's shootout attempt that stemmed from Hunjak's pushing penalty.

In the same period, Hunjak converted a shootout try, resulting from a pushing penalty against Dougherty, for a 7-3 Spirit halftime lead.

!Buffalo 2 1 4 4 -- 11

Spirit 6 1 8 2 -- 17