Thunder drops opener, 16-11

Here we go again.

That's what Skip Lichtfuss had to be thinking after watching his Baltimore Thunder bow to the Boston Blazers, 16-11, last night before a season-opening crowd of 5,634 at the Baltimore Arena.


The Thunder (0-1), which finished last in the Major Indoor Lacrosse League last season with a 1-7 record, gave up five goals in the third quarter and never threatened thereafter.

"The last thing I expected was to be looking up at the clock in the third period and seeing us down 11-6. I truly did not, in my wildest dreams, expect to be down five goals in the third period to that team," said Lichtfuss. "I can't fathom how all 17 people can come out as flat as they did.


"We had some good efforts from some kids. Timmy Hormes played his tail off tonight and kept us alive, and [goalie] Ted Sawicki played outstanding, but we hung him out to dry."

Sawicki, an All-Pro out of Detroit, faced 44 shots and made 26 saves. Boston goalie Marty O'Neill turned away 30 shots.

Ted Dowling, who came to the Blazers from the now-defunct Detroit Turbos, led Boston with four goals and two assists, and teammate Randy Fraser also had four goals.

Tim Welsh, who owns three Thunder records, led Baltimore with two goals and one assist, and Hormes, Bob Martino and Rob Shek each had two goals.

"We have all the name players on this team, but this is a blue-collar sport," said Thunder forward Brian Kroneberger. "You need to have guys who play defense and guys who play unselfish on offense. . . . Until we start playing blue-collar defense we're going to go through the same thing."

Boston, which defeated the Thunder, 17-11, last season at the Baltimore Arena, looked like it might run away when it went ahead 3-1 with 20 seconds left in the first quarter. But, Brian Kroneberger, who had limped off the field moments earlier, checked back into the game in the closing seconds and pulled the Thunder back to within one with an unassisted goal with five seconds left.

Martino's behind-the-back shot after a feed from Jeff Klodzen whizzed past O'Neill, tying the game at 3.

The Blazers, 4-4 last year, led 3-1 before Baltimore knotted it on goals by Kroneberger and Martino. Boston went up two again on goals by Peter Schmitz and Fraser.


Welsh, who needs just seven goals to surpass Jeff Jackson as the Thunder's all-time scoring leader, dived across the face of the crease to bring his team back to within one, and Hormes scored in similar fashion to make it 5-5, as he raced the length of the floor and made a diving shot with his team short-handed.

Jed Cronin closed out the first-half scoring, giving Boston a 6-5 lead.