The Blast defense and goalie William Vanzela made life very tough for the Rochester Lancers on Saturday.
Rochester discovered why the Blast came into the matchup as the Major Indoor Soccer League's top defense. Vanzela made 12 saves, and the defense smothered the Lancers offense as the Blast scored a 17-2 victory over Rochester before an announced 6,986 at Baltimore Arena.
This victory kept the Blast (10-3) a half game behind the first-place Milwaukee Wave (10-2), which beat the St. Louis Ambush on Saturday.
The Blast scored victories of 12-0 and 19-8 over Rochester in their other two games this seasons, and while the Lancers found some chances this time, they weren't able to finish.
Vanzela set the tone with a diving save on Mauricio Salles' bullet of a shot just over a minute into the game. He also got lots of help from a Blast defense that constantly blocked shots, beat the Lancers to rebounds and cleared with ease.
Blast coach Danny Kelly said his team didn't have its greatest game overall, but gave Vanzela a lot of credit for the victory.
"He was unbelievable back there," Kelly said. "If we didn't have him ... tonight might have been a different story."
Vanzela said the Blast's defense did a good job overall and helped him make key plays.
"They helped me out a lot," he said. "It's not me. We have a good defense. They make my job easier."
Rochester goalie Marc Sotile finished with eight saves and made a number of tough stops, but the Blast found too many chances. Adauto Neto and Adriano Dos Santos each finished with two goals. Neto scored game's lone 3-point goal.
The Blast was able to keep possession for longer stretches and make Rochester (4-10) chase and play lots of tiring defense. That trend started early as the Blast pressured Rochester throughout the first quarter and finished the period with a 15-4 edge in shots and a 4-0 lead.
Lucas Roque got the first goal when he corralled the rebound of a Pat Healey shot and scored a 2-point goal with 4:53 left in the period. Dos Santos made it 4-0 just 59 seconds later when the rebound of a Marco Mangione shot bounced right to him just left of the goal, and he easily tapped it in.
Mangione gave the Blast a 6-0 lead in the second quarter by putting a 2-point goal into the top left corner off another assist by Healey with 5:56 left in the half.
The Blast then broke it open with an eight-point third quarter. Tony Donatelli and Mike Deasel scored 20 seconds apart early in the third quarter to give the Blast a 10-0 lead.
Rochester's Stephen Basso later broke free and scored his team's first goal, but Neto and Dos Santos also scored after that for a 14-2 lead after three.
"They did have some chances, but I think I played well," Vanzela said. "Everyone ... played well. Teamwork is the key to winning championships."
Rochester 0 0 2 0-- 2
Blast 4 2 8 3-- 17
Scoring: 1. Blast, Roque, 2 pt. (Healey), 10:07. 2. Blast, Dos Santos, 2 pt. (Mangione), 11:06.
Scoring: 3. Blast, Mangione, 2 pt. (Healey), 9:04.
Scoring: 4. Blast, Donatelli, 2 pt. (DeRoux), 4:25. 5. Blast, Deasel, 2 pt. (Lookingland), 4:45. 6. Rochester, Basso, 2 pt. (Tavernese), 6:55. 7. Blast, Neto, 2 pt. (DeRoux), 7:59. 8. Blast, Dos Santos, 2 pt. (Gonzaga), 13:48.
Penalties: Blast, Roque (dissent, 5 minutes), 15:00
Scoring: 9. Blast, Neto, 3 pt. (Lookingland), 1:41 (ppg).
Penalties: Rochester, Sotile (tripping, served by Salles), 1:27. Blast, DeRoux (tripping), 2:14. Blast, Vanzela (delay of game, 5-minute misconduct), 2:14. Blast, Deasel (pushing), 5:41.
Shots on goal: Rochester 1-3-4-5 - 13; Blast 7-2-5-2 – 16.
Power-play opportunities: Rochester 0-for-3; Blast 1-for-1.
Goalie Saves: Rochester, Sotile 8; Blast, Vanzela 12.