The defending-champion Blast are returning to the Major Arena Soccer League championship series after defeating the Milwaukee Wave, 2-1, in a mini-game in the Eastern Conference finals Tuesday night on a tiebreaking goal by Tony Donatelli with 1:03 remaining.
Earlier in the night, the Blast lost Game 2 of the best-of-three series to the host Wave, 8-4, forcing the 15-minute mini-game. The Blast won the opener, 8-7, in overtime Saturday night at Royal Farms Arena.
The Blast advance to play the Soles de Sonora or San Diego Sockers, who will complete their Western Conference series Saturday at 10:05 p.m in Mexico. Soles won the first game of the finals, 7-3, Sunday in San Diego and are the defending conference champion.
Donatelli's decisive goal in the mini-game was assisted by Vini Dantas. Andrew Hoxie scored the first goal, his fourth of the postseason, off an assist from Juan Pereira 2:47 into the mini-game, but Marcio Leite tied the game off a pass from Drew Ruggles with 1:41 remaining.
The Wave won Game 2 decisively, scoring the first four goals — the first three by Ruggles — and never trailing by fewer than two. Dantas' third goal of the game drew the Blast within 6-4 just 54 seconds into the fourth quarter, but Andre Hayne and Marcio Leite provided the final margin for Milwaukee.