Millwood leads charge, Blast pounds KiXX

The Baltimore Sun

In a game the Blast desperately needed to win, it administered Philadelphia's worst defeat of the season last night at 1st Mariner Arena.

Machel Millwood produced the Blast's fourth hat trick, and five other players scored to stop a six-game road winning streak by the KiXX, 19-12, before 5,072.

The point total was the highest surrendered by first-place Philadelphia (10-6), which entered the night with the fewest average points allowed (9.5 per game) in the Major Indoor Soccer League. The previous high against the KiXX was 15 by the Milwaukee Wave on Jan. 6.

Thus, the Blast (8-9) finished 3-2 on its longest homestand of the season and moved to within one game of .500, a mark it has not been at since Dec. 16.

To punctuate a highly successful evening, veteran Lee Tschantret picked up an assist on one of Michael Watson's two goals and became the 14th player in league history to reach 1,000 points.

"I'm kind of glad it's out of the way," Tschantret said. "I wasn't getting frustrated [about not getting it]. These things come. What does it mean? Consistency over a long period and being fortunate with injuries."

Tschantret, who shared player of the game honors with Millwood, was appreciative that he attained the milestone before his family and friends at home. "It's great to have milestones here," he said. "I have the ball and I think Sports Legends is going to get one of the game balls."

The Blast took full control of the game in the third quarter, first on the Watson goal assisted by Tschantret and then on Millwood's second score, with Mike Lookingland aiding.

A three-point goal on the power play by John Barry Nusum brought the KiXX to within 14-12 early in the fourth quarter before Millwood completed his hat trick and Philadelphia went to the sixth attacker. An acrobatic goal by Robbie Aristodemo put the clincher on the victory.

"This was one of the biggest games of the season," Millwood said. "It was home and we played good defense. Coach [Danny Kelly] has been stressing guys going back on defense."

"We worked hard and finished our opportunities," Kelly said. "At the same time, we made it a little bit difficult. I felt a couple of their goals were easy ones. This was a big game. We created our situation and we have to deal with it."

Blast goalkeeper Sagu had a rough first half, but changed jersies at the break and the KiXX could only manage the power-play score in the second half.

"It [the blue one he started in] doesn't give me luck," Sagu said. "I'm superstitious."

The Blast finished with a 33-12 advantage in shots on goal and also received a score from Denison Cabral and two assists from Aristodemo.

Philadelphia 5 4 0 3 - 12

Blast 2 8 4 5 - 19

First quarter: 1. Philadelphia, Martinez (D'Ambra), 0:14, 3 pt-goal; 2. Philadelphia, D'Ambra (Martinez), 10:10; 3. Blast, Neto (Aristodemo), 11:56. Penalties: B, Tschantret (5-minute misconduct), 10.08. Second quarter: 4. Blast, Watson (Neto), 1:22; Blast, Millwood (unassisted), 6:49; 5. Philadelphia, D'Ambra (Martinez), 8:38; 6. Blast, Celenza (unassisted), 11:25; 7. Blast, Cabral (Aristodemo), 12:47; 8. Philadelphia, Myers (D'Ambra), 14:27; Penalties: None. Third quarter: 9. Blast, Watson (Tschantret), 0:29; 10. Blast, Millwood (Lookingland), 2:49. Penalties: P, too many men, 11:20; P, Delevski (5-minute misconduct), 11;20; B, too many men, 13:22. Fourth quarter: 11. Philadelphia, Nusum (Naumoski), 0:34, 3 pt goal; 12. Blast, Millwood (Garcia), 12:05; 13. Blast, Aristodemo (Wakefield), 13:22. Penalties: P, D'Ambra, 13:48; P, Pappas, 13:52. Attendance: 5,072.

Tonight's game

Matchup -- Blast (8-9) @ Philadelphia KiXX (10-6)

Site -- Wachovia Spectrum

Time -- 7:05

Radio -- WCBM (680 AM)

Season series -- Tied, 1-1

Outlook -- The Blast takes a brief respite from 1st Mariner Arena to conclude a home-and-home series on consecutive dates. Only 4-4 at home, the KiXX's victories include a 16-8 win over the Blast last month in which they rolled to a 12-2 first-quarter lead. The Blast is seeking only its second road win in eight games. Philadelphia features a balanced attack led by player-coach Don D'Ambra. Ten players have contributed double-figure points.


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