Philadelphia - Despite not having its leading scorer for most of the game, the Baltimore Blast (6-1) bounced back from its only loss of the season with a convincing 18-6 victory over the Philadelphia KiXX (3-5) last night in front of an announced 6,759 at the Wachovia Spectrum.
After scoring the Blast's first goal, Machel Millwood left in the first quarter with an ankle injury. Teammates Denison Cabral, Billy Nelson and Giuliano Celenza filled the void by scoring two goals each.
Although the Blast took an early 6-2 lead on goals by Millwood, Nelson and Cabral, the loss of its leading scorer seemed to slow the team temporarily because it wouldn't score another goal until the end of third period.
"Millwood is obviously a big part of our team, a big part of our offense," said Blast coach Danny Kelly, whose team was coming off a 14-6 loss last Sunday at Rockford. "We took a little time to adjust. Philadelphia took it to us a bit in the second quarter. We weathered the storm, got back into our game, [kept] the ball a little bit and created some chances. I thought defensively we did a great job as a unit tonight."
After the hot start, the Blast was held without a goal in the second period. The KiXX had the only score of the period on a power play, two-point goal by forward Don D'Ambra to cut the margin to 6-4. The KiXX dominated in the second period, outshooting the Blast 10-4. Baltimore goalkeeper Sagu had eight saves in the period. He finished the game with 11.
In the third period, the KiXX evened the score at 6 on a power-play goal by Anthony Maher with 5:21 left in the quarter. Philadelphia was able to get a five-on-four advantage because of a tripping penalty by Blast defender Craig Scheer.
After its offense was dormant for nearly two quarters, the Blast regained its scoring touch by coming up with two goals in the final two minutes of the third quarter. Cabral scored on a power-play goal, and then Celenza added a score to give the Blast a 10-6 lead going into the final 15 minutes.
The Blast owned the fourth period, with a two-pointer by Celenza and two empty net three-point goals by defenders Ryan Pierce and Nelson.