Blast forward Chile Farias had seen the tendency. Milwaukee Wave goalie Nick Vorberg was vulnerable on the long ball. Vorberg's teammates were packed in the goal box, defending expertly, but from long distance, a flying ball wasn't always visible until it was too late.
That's how the Blast's Tarik Walker had scored, and Billy Nelson. Of course, those balls also had been powerful and precise. Farias had seen that, too.
So when David Bascome put the ball on his toes with 6:53 left in the third period, Farias had only one thought. His team needed a goal, and he needed to score it.
Without conscious thought, he emulated his teammates and unloaded a whistling gem. The ball rose to the perfect height, tantalizingly close to Vorberg's fingers but just beyond their reach. The ball passed under the crossbar at the far post with so much velocity it took a spin in the netting before being counted for a 4-3 Blast lead that held up for victory.
The curious thing about last night's game at 1st Mariner Arena was how differently the outcome was achieved compared with the win over Kansas City the night before. In that game, the Blast couldn't find its defense and depended totally on a fourth-quarter offensive thrust for victory.
Last night, the team held on to its one-goal lead for more than 26 minutes.
"I think we're moving in the right direction," said Walker, who had been openly distressed by his team's lack of a full 60-minute effort Friday night. "We started doing some good things in the fourth period against Kansas City, and tonight, when we got the lead, we kept creating scoring chances while at the same time playing defense."
The win was the Blast's second in two nights and the fourth in its past five games. It improved the team's record to 8-9 and moved it into sole possession of fourth place by percentage points over Kansas City and Cleveland.
Milwaukee (10-6) dropped to second place, a half-game behind St. Louis, after losing its second straight.
The Blast played a more focused game than it did the night before against Kansas City. Though Milwaukee was able to score twice in the first period, on shots by Todd Dusosky and Troy Dusosky (power play), it was the Blast who took control from the second period on, to the delight of most of the 5,264 fans at 1st Mariner Arena.
"We wanted to win," said Farias. "Tonight, we played hard and we played smart. When we couldn't score, we played the ball back and kept possession. We played defense and offense. All together it made a good game. Now we have to keep going."
Milwaukee 2 0 1 0 - 3
Blast 2 1 1 0 - 4
First quarter - 1. Blast, Millwood, 8:17; 2. Milwaukee, To. Dusosky (Burk),12:11; 3. Milwaukee, Tr. Dusosky (To. Dusosky) (PPG), 13:49; 4. Blast, Walker (Tschantret), 14:35. Penalties: Farias, Blast (Tripping), 13:28.
Second quarter - 5. Blast, Nelson (Eller), 13:38. Penalties: Gilbert, Milwaukee, (Boarding), 0:27.
Third quarter - 6. Milwaukee, Schmidt (Howes), 5:08; 7. Blast, Farias (Bascome), 8:07.
Fourth quarter - Penalties: Hammes, Milwaukee (Tripping), 6:38.
Shots-on-goal: Milwaukee 6-1-10-3-20; Blast 6-11-4-5-26. Penalty kick conversions: Milwaukee 0 of 0; Blast 0 of 0. Shootout conversions: Milwaukee 0 of 0; Blast 0 of 0. Power-play conversions: Milwaukee 1 of 2; Blast 0 of 1. Saves: Milwaukee: Nick Vorberg 11, Chris Morman 1.Blast: Sagu 12. A: 5,264. Officials: Misail Tsapos, Jason Cullum, Adam Wienckowski.