|Blast Hold On To Beat Wave|
By Andrew Primrose
The Baltimore Blast overcame a rough start and a rocky ending to beat the visiting Milwaukee Wave, 17-13, Saturday night at 1st Mariner Arena. Coming off a two-game road trip during which it was outscored, 40-17, during back-to-back losses, Baltimore earned a desperately needed win as it returned home to a crowd of 9,644 fans.
Machel Millwood led the Blast in scoring with a hat trick and the Baltimore defense held Milwaukee scoreless for two full quarters as the Blast earned their second win against the Wave in three chances this season.
The game did not get off to a great start for the Blast, as Milwaukee jumped out to a 4-0 lead on goals from J.P. Rodrigues and Marcio Leite, but as he's done several times this season, Millwood broke through to ignite the Blast offense. His unassisted strike came just 20 seconds after Leite's tally and seemed to awaken his Baltimore teammates. Stephen DeRoux added a goal at the 14-minute mark to tie the game at 4.
Neither team was able to score during the second quarter, but Millwood once again drove the Blast offense during the third. Millwood scored back-to-back goals, including his second assisted score, to earn the hat trick. Max Ferdinand got into the action with his own tally at 14:34 to put the Blast up, 10-4, a lead they would take to the fourth quarter. The Blast defense held Milwaukee scoreless for the second straight quarter behind the strong play of defenders Pat Healey and Mike Lookingland, while goalkeeper Sagu made several fantastic saves.
The fourth quarter began with Baltimore's sixth unanswered goal on an outstanding play by rookie forward J.T. Noone, which left the Blast up, 12-4, with 10 minutes left during the game. During an ordinary home game for the Blast, an eight-point fourth-quarter lead would seem to be safe, but with Milwaukee in town, the ending was anything but ordinary.
Less than a minute after Noone put the Blast up eight, former Blast defender Jonathan Greenfield scored a three-point goal to cut the Blast lead to 12-7. Ptah Myers added a Blast goal to push the lead to seven, but Wave forward Giuliano Oliviero scored two consecutive goals to cut the Wave deficit to three.
Having watched their lead dwindle to one goal and having killed off a third Milwaukee power play, the Blast were clearly on the ropes when Shaun David knocked in a bending drive from the opposite yellow line to give the Baltimore a three-point goal and effectively end the game. Wave forward Hewerton Moreira was able to get on the board with just 14 seconds left during the game, but it wasn't enough for the Wave, as Baltimore held on for the victory.
In honor of breast cancer awareness, the Blast players donned special pink jerseys during Saturday's game, which will be auctioned off online from Feb. 19 to Feb. 26. Auction proceeds will go to the MedStar Good Samaritan Cancer Patient Assistance Fund and MedStar Union Memorial Oncology Giving Tree, courtesy of MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital and MedStar Union Memorial Hospital.
The game also highlighted the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event. The Making Strides walk will be held Oct. 14 and more information is available at stridesbaltimore.org
Zach Lederer, the University of Maryland freshman that has inspired people around the world after his recent brain surgery, kicked out the first ball along with several breast cancer survivors. Lederer, who underwent surgery Jan. 25, flexed his muscles for a photo just hours after his procedure at Johns Hopkins Hospital in an attempt to let his friends and family know he made it through the surgery and intended to fight his second bout with cancer.
Lederer's cousins posted the photo on Facebook and the craze known as "Zaching" spread across the country and around the world. Just days after his surgery, Lederer, 18, returned to his duties as a student manager for the Terps men's basketball team and pictures and videos of people from all over the world "Zaching" began pouring in.
The Blast return to action Sunday, Feb. 26, playing on the road against the Norfolk SharX. The Blast's final home game of the regular season is Friday, March 2 against the Wichita Wings.
Posted Feb. 19, 2012