If the Spirit didn't have bad luck, it probably wouldn't have any luck at all.
Forcing its game against Detroit into overtime with a dramatic, eight-point fourth quarter to gain a 10-10 tie last night at Baltimore Arena, the Spirit bowed just 93 seconds into the extra session, 12-10, when Travis Roy of the Rockers nudged the ball over supine goalie Jim McCombs.
It was the third overtime loss in as many tries for the Spirit, while Detroit was winning for the second time in three sudden-death situations.
"Look at the difference the [overtime] losses make. We could be 5-6 instead of 2-9," said Spirit coach Mike Stankovic, ever the optimist.
The winning goal resulted from a weak tap back from a Spirit defender to McCombs, who was involved in a collision with Roy. It was a case of which player would regain his feet first, and Roy won the contest.
"It was a fair collision, He had a right to go for the ball," said the goalie, discounting the theory held by many fans that Roy had deliberately run into him.
Trailing, 7-2, after three periods, the Spirit recovered dramatically and, on goals by newcomers Aleksander Milenovic and Renato Sampaio and by Shane Dougherty, closed to within three points with less than a minute left.
Barry Stitz, who had been inserted as a sixth attacker a couple of minutes earlier, tapped the ball to Bo Vuckovic on a restart and the leading scorer of the Spirit tied it with 30 seconds remaining.
From the middle of the second quarter on, the Spirit pressured effectively after it began to appear it might never solve Detroit's tough defense. Results weren't forthcoming until the final 15 minutes, when it scored three goals (five points) in a four-minute stretch at the beginning of the period.
The Spirit was able to put only three shots on the Detroit goal in the first period, and found itself fortunate to be trailing just 2-0 after a period.
To a pair of goals by Roland Agyare, the Rockers added one by player-coach Pato Margetic and were working on a shutout five minutes before halftime when Dougherty hit for the home team.
NOTES -- The Spirit signed forward Milenovic to replace Dejan Belic on the roster. The new man has experience, playing for the Yugoslavian national indoor team the last two years. Detroit is on a rugged, three-game trip, traveling back to Grand Rapids to play tomorrow afternoon after a game in Harrisburg tonight. The Rockers added former NPSL star Sean Bowers to their defensive corps yesterday and he was in the starting lineup. Bowers excelled for Detroit for four seasons before moving to the outdoor game and becoming a mainstay with Kansas City of the MLS.
Detroit 2 4 1 3 2 -- 12
& Spirit 0 2 0 8 0 -- 10
Opponent: Milwaukee Wave
Site: Baltimore Arena
Time: 7: 35
Radio: WCBM (680 AM)
Outlook: In their first meeting last month, the Central Division-leading Wave recovered from a 12-6 fourth-period deficit defeat the Spirit in overtime, 14-12. Milwaukee (8-1) defeated Harrisburg, 14-13, last night.
Pub Date: 12/06/97