There was just one penalty called during the Blast-Milwaukee Wave midmorning special at the Baltimore Arena yesterday. But, it was a big one.
Falling behind immediately when the visitors crammed three goals into less than a minute and a half before the five-minute mark of the first quarter, the Blast did an admirable job recovering and assuming a two-point halftime lead.
The call, an intentional hand ball infraction against Denison Cabral, got the Wave back even and it knew what to do from there, cruising to a 17-8 victory.
"A hand ball usually isn't called in that situation unless a guy sticks his arm out," said Blast coach Kevin Healey of the call against Cabral. "He dove to block a shot, and his hand was up by his shoulder when he got hit there."
Peter Hattrup hit the shootout goal and King followed with a power-play one-pointer to even the match at 8. Less than two minutes later, Nick Igel hit for Milwaukee and, midway through the third period, the Blast began pressuring to gain possession of the ball.
This played right into Milwaukee's hands as it spread the field and Wave goalie Victor Nogueira began distributing the ball expertly from the back.
"What we talked about at halftime was the fact we were behind, but losing 8-6 in the other guys' building was no reason to be down," said Milwaukee coach Keith Tozer.
"We've been in a [3-7] slump lately and not playing well on the road, so we've been working on some things. Some of the guys we rely to score for us, Michael King and Steve Morris, came through and we controlled the ball well."
That's a major understatement. The Blast, tied or trailing almost as soon as the third period started, was able to put just eight shots on goal during the second half. Nogueira could have hit the showers early as he faced just one shot over the last quarter.
Again the third quarter proved a bugaboo for the Blast, being shut down 4-0, and the home team didn't cover up well on restarts.
Michael Richardson, playing just his fifth game for the Wave, scored a three-pointer on a free kick and added a two-pointer against a sixth attacker to raise his point total from three to eight.
The Blast, playing with what amounts to an entire lineup on the injury list, was also short its best setup man, Franklin McIntosh, who had to sit out due to a suspension after an ejection from Baltimore's last game in Montreal five days ago.
Brad Smith returned from ligament damage but could go only a couple of shifts. "He's had only one good day of practice and there's still some things he can't do out there, so we're easing him back," said Healey.
The Blast plays host to the Edmonton Drillers on Saturday after playing at Montreal on Friday night. The setback dropped the team to 11-14, tied for third with Harrisburg, when a victory would have tied it for the lead in the East Division, which doesn't have a team over .500.
Pub Date: 2/10/99