Maybe history doesn't repeat itself. Despite playing on the five-month anniversary of their MISL championship victory and in front of the largest Civic Center crowd in their five-year history, the Baltimore Blast watched its opponent celebrate with high fives tonight as St. Louis won, 5-4, in overtime.
Steamer Rick Davis scored the game-winner 6:01 into the sudden-death fifth period with a shot through the legs of goaltender Scott Manning.
Dave MacWilliams sent the game into the extra period with a breakaway goal past St. Louis goaltender Slobo Ilijevski with 4:06 left in regulation. The Blast dominated the period, maintaining possession throughout most of the fourth quarter and attempting eight shots at the St. Louis goal.
The Steamers had taken a 4-3 lead after three quarters, with Don Ebert scoring his second goal of the game on a nifty turnaround maneuver past Manning, who finished with 17 saves.
"We had problems in Pittsburgh and we had problems tonight," said Blast Coach Kenny Cooper. Baltimore lost its season opener, 4-3, to the Spirit last Friday. "We got the lead, were fired up, and then made mental errors that cost us. We're finding that as a champion, teams are going to come in here and set up a basketball zone. And we find ourselves 0-2, and having to prove ourselves to the people once again."
The attendance of 12,024 surpassed the record 12,007 that watched the Blast defeat St. Louis for the title in the fifth game of the championship series in June.
The Blast controlled the opening quarter but led by just 3-2 after two quick scores by the Steamers, the second by Davis on a power play with 1:09 left. Baltimore had taken a 3-0 lead on goals by MacWilliams, Stan Stamenkovic and Heinz Wirtz, outshooting St. Louis, 14-4.
Steamer forward Ebert capitalized on a defensive lapse 10:53 into the game, taking a pass off the boards from Carl Rose and shooting past Manning. Davis scored three minutes later after Baltimore was given a two-minute penalty for committing its sixth minor foul of the period.
St. Louis rookie Armando Betancourt put a grounder past Manning in the second quarter, but the Steamers had only a 3-3 halftime tie despite a 15-shot effort. Manning's seven saves in the quarter included a stop of a point-blank header by Ebert at the end of the half.
St. Louis is 2-0 and in first place in the Eastern Division.