Blast shakes Philly in 1st playoff, 15-11; Dieter hits winner with 3: 16 remaining


PHILADELPHIA -- By his own estimation, Blast forward Erik Rasmussen was on the field for about 90 seconds last night.

Not a lot of time to do much, but Rasmussen managed to set up Jason Dieter for the go-ahead goal with 3: 16 to play, lifting the Blast to a 15-11 opening playoff win over the Philadelphia KiXX. Mark Thomas iced the win with seconds remaining.

"I got a good look at it," Dieter said. "I just tried to turn and hit it. Fortunately, it went in the right direction. That is all or nothing. It is going to take games like that to win a championship."

Then he added: "The series isn't over by a long shot. We have to play the same way [tonight in Baltimore] and take chances."

The win before 4,607 gave the Blast a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three American Conference playoff semifinals. The teams play again at 7: 35 tonight at Baltimore Arena.

Philadelphia, trailing 11-7 entering the final period, pulled even with two two-pointers about 2 1/2 minutes apart. Player-coach Omid Namazi stuck in the first one, and forward Goran Hunjak got the equalizer with just over five minutes left, netting his own rebound off Blast goalkeeper Scott Hileman's hands for his second goal of the night.

Philadelphia had a number of chances more -- including a one-on-one opportunity -- to take its first lead before Dieter's goal but were unsuccessful.

Chances such as those were few and far between this season for teams against the Blast's defense, which rarely let a player behind it.

Healey called a timeout after the KiXX tied the game.

"When we called the timeout, my whole point was that the game is still tied," Healey said. "Let's do what we do best. Let's play good team-defense and stop them from getting behind us. Let's keep the ball a bit. Then anybody can score the goal and become the hero."

Two minutes later, Dieter scored the goal that seemed to rejuvenate the team defense, and the KiXX was forced to pull its goalkeeper with 1: 30 left in regulation and replace him with sixth attacker Don D'Ambra.

D'Ambra hit a shot hard off the glass that led to a breakaway goal for Blast forward Mark Thomas with just under a minute left, giving the Blast the four-point advantage.

The KiXX came back to play well in the second half after struggling against the Blast in the first. The KiXX was held scoreless through the first 25 minutes before Hileman was hit with a hand-ball penalty with under three minutes remaining in the half.

Philadelphia forward Domenic Mobilio scored the shootout goal, then the power-play goal on backup keeper David Tenney, trimming the Blast's halftime lead to 7-3.

"We were in control at that point," Healey said. "At halftime, we said there is nothing we could do about that now. The reality was it was 7-3, and we would have taking that before the game. I told them let's go from here and win the game, and the guys did a good job."

Blast 2 5 4 4 -- 15

Philadelphia 0 3 4 4 -- 11

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