Spirit hits break on the skids Loses 2nd in row, 19-15, to Rockers


DETROIT -- This isn't the way the Baltimore Spirit wanted to go into the National Professional Soccer League All-Star break.

Last night, the Spirit lost its second straight game, a 19-15 decision to the Detroit Rockers before 5,015 at Cobo Arena.

The Spirit, which had lost in Harrisburg, 27-12, Friday night, is 22-11 and first in the American Division. The Rockers improved ++ to 12-21, fifth in the division.

Forward Andy Chapman sparked Detroit with scored four goals and two assists for 11 points.

Two of Chapman's goals (a two-pointer and a three-pointer) and an assist came during the third quarter, when Detroit scored seven straight points on three goals in 3:56 to turn a 12-9 deficit into a 16-12 Rockers lead entering the fourth quarter.

"We just gave Andy too much room. He's a great finisher," said Spirit coach Kenny Cooper. "In transition we didn't pick him up in time."

Also a factor was Detroit goaltender Bryan Finnerty, who came back from a shaky start to make 15 saves, many spectacular, in the second half. He had he let in soft goals in the second quarter to Jason Dieter (a shot from a sharp angle on the right side that he let in on the short side) and Goran Hunjak (a shot off the far goal post that Finnerty fumbled into the net as he tried to pick up the ball).

"We missed some chances and Finnerty came up big in the second half," said Cooper.

The Rockers goalie even scored a one-point power-play goal at 10:45 of the fourth quarter. His toss from the goal crease easily found the empty Spirit net (Baltimore had pulled goalie Cris Vaccaro) at the other end of the field and gave Detroit a 17-12 lead and seemed to seal Baltimore's fate.

But Rusty Troy gave the Spirit some hope when he scored an unassisted three-point goal 1:08 later to make it 17-15.

That hope, however, lasted 36 seconds, as Sean Bowers scored a two-pointer into the empty net with 1:31 left.

Troy also had a two-pointer and an assist for six points and Joe Koziol had a goal and two assists for four points.

Kevin Smith opened the scoring 2:58 into the game when he took a pass from Koziol and hammered it past Finnerty. Chapman, stationed just off to the side of the net, tied it for the Rockers, taking a pass from Bowers and putting it into the empty net.

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