Forward Giuliano Celenza scored on a header with 1:36 left to complete an unanswered, three-goal run and stun the visiting Milwaukee Wave, 6-5, last night before 7,008 at 1st Mariner Arena.
Celenza capped another unlikely comeback by the Blast, which needed to score twice in the final 1:10 on Friday to edge the visiting California Cougars, 6-5. Last night, Milwaukee (13-4) took a 5-3 lead into the fourth quarter and maintained it deep into the period.
Then, the Blast struck again after suffering through a scoring drought that consumed 18:38, and got major sparks from midfielder David Bascome and defender Danny Kelly, who assisted Celenza on the game-winner.
With 4:35 left in the game, Bascome took a pass off the boards from Kelly and scored through the legs of Milwaukee goalie Nick Vorberg, one of the few mistakes Vorberg made throughout a superb, 21-save evening.
That gave the Blast life by pulling it to within 5-4. Then, with 2:51 left, Bascome got loose on the left wing, took a fast-break pass from midfielder Robbie Aristodemo and scored easily from in close to tie it at 5.
Twenty-four seconds later, a tripping foul on the Wave gave the Blast a power-play chance. Celenza finished the job from five yards out on the left side after Kelly sent a perfect, 20-yard pass through the heart of Milwaukee's defense.
"I saw [Celenza's] face, and I knew if I could get it to him, there was a real good chance he would finish because he's one of the best finishers in the league," said Kelly, who had two assists.
"We were a little disappointed with the way we played [Friday] night. We knew coming into this we had to work hard and get up and down the floor for 60 minutes. We didn't put our heads down. We just felt something was going to happen."
As it did Friday night, the Blast struggled to finish scoring plays. Baltimore took 37 shots last night but converted when it counted most.
"Things were meant to be this weekend," said Bascome, who finished with two goals. "Character is huge on this team."
The Blast (11-6) maintained its third-place position at a cost. On a night when often-injured forward Machel Millwood finished with two goals and one assist, the Blast might have lost Ibrahim Kante. The defender was helped from the field in the second quarter after injuring a knee and will be re-examined tomorrow.
"I was more impressed with the way we played in the first half. In the third quarter, we seemed to run out of a little steam. Then, the character came back," Blast coach Tim Wittman said.
Milwaukee 1 1 3 0 - 5
Blast 1 1 1 3 - 6
First quarter: 1, Mil, Sebrango (Oliviero) 2:40. 2, Blast, Millwood (Bailey) 13:28. Penalties: None. Second quarter: 3, Blast, Neto (Millwood) 11:04. 4, Mil, To. Dusosky (Vorberg) 13:44. Penalties: Kante, Blast (holding), 3:28. Bench (Wittman), Blast (dissent), 13:56. Third quarter: 5, Mil, To. Dusosky (Howes) 3:26. 6, Blast, Millwood (Nelson) 6:47. 7, Mil, Tr. Dusosky (Oliviero) (RSG) 8:28. 8, Mil, Greenfield (Sebrango) 11:31. Penalties: Fontana, MIL (holding), 13:39. Fourth quarter: Scoring: 9, Blast Bascome (Kelly) 10:25. 10, Blast Bascome (Aristodemo) 12:09. 11, Blast Celenza (Kelly) (PPG) 13:24. Penalties: Hewerton, MIL (unsportmanlike conduct), 11:46. Fontana, MIL (boarding), 12:33. Shots-on-goal: Milwaukee 6-6-9-4-25; Blast 8-7-11-11-37. 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 0 of 1; Blast 1 of 2. Goalies: Milwaukee: Vorberg (27, 21, 6, 58:24) Schmidt (0, 0, 0, 1:36); Baltimore : Sagu (18, 13, 5, 60:00). A: 7,008. Officials: Kelly Mock, Mark Bailey, Jason Cullum.