It took one game plus a little more than a quarter, but the fine play the hometown fans have grown accustomed to seeing from their two-time defending championship Blast team arrived Saturday night against the Philadelphia KiXX.
Down by two points in the opening minutes of the second quarter, the Blast offense came to life in a demonstrative way, scoring nine unanswered points in the game's pivotal stretch. In the second half, the home team protected its lead with responsible team play on defense, blanking the visitors for the first 26-plus minutes. The end result was a reassuring 19-8 win in front of an announced 6,511 at 1st Mariner Arena.
"We're used to scoring in bunches, our team. That's how it's been the last five, six years. Once we get going, we're hard to stop and it showed tonight," Blast captain Robbie Aristodemo said.
Coming off a disappointing 10-8 overtime loss to the Rockford Rampage in its home opener Nov. 13, the Blast, led by a three-goal performance from Lucio Gonzaga and 15 saves from Sagu, improved to 1-1, while the KiXX fell to 0-2.
/p>"That first win in '09 was very important, especially at home. It's a good response from last week's result," Aristodemo said.
Trailing 6-4, the Blast got even with 9:06 left in the half when defender Mike Lookingland blasted a shot from the top of the circle that quickly got past KiXX goalie Sanaldo and went off the top crossbar before going in. The home team took its first lead with 5:21 left in similar fashion, this time with Machel Millwood sending a rocket shot off the crossbar for an 8-6 lead.
Gonzaga closed the defining quarter with a long run from midfield, getting by two defenders before finishing his chance from beyond the three-point arc for an 11-6 edge with 1:52 to play in the half.
The Blast will next play Dec. 13 when it travels to Monterrey La RaZa for its first road game.
Philadelphia 2 4 0 2 - 8
Blast 2 9 0 8 - 19 FIRST QUARTER
Scoring: 1. Philadelphia, Myers, pp., 6:09; 2. Blast, Cabral (Aristodemo), pp., 12:13.
Penalties: 1. Blast, Buete (boarding), 5:47; 2. Blast, Lookingland (holding), 7:30; 3. Philadelphia, Sanaldo (hand ball), 11:06
Scoring: 3. Philadelphia, Heins (Maher), :33; 4. Blast, Gonzaga (Millwood), 1:24; 5. Philadelphia, Martinez (Ricardinho), 2:13; 6. Blast, Lookingland, (Garcia), 5:54; 7. Blast, Millwood (Aristodemo), 9:39; 8. Blast, Gonzaga, 3 pt., 13:10.
Scoring: 9. Blast, Gonzaga (Millwood), 7:26; 10. Blast, Nelson, 3 pt., 10:55; 11. Philadelphia, Myers (Ricardinho), 11:19; 12. Blast, Greenfield, 3 pt., 12:16.
Saves: Philadelphia, Sanaldo 4 1 2 1-8; Blast, Sagu 3 7 2 3-15. Shots on goal: Philadelphia 4 9 5 5 -- 23; Blast 8 7 2 4 -- 21. Power play opportunities: Philadelphia 1-for-2; Blast 0-for-0. Attendance: 6,511.