The Milwaukee Wave defeated the Baltimore Blast, 16-7, Friday night at 1st Mariner Arena to win the 2011 MISL Championship. Wave goalkeeper Marcel Feenstra was the MVP of the Game after stopping 11 of the 14 shots he faced.
Jonathan Greenfield, a former Blast player, led the Wave with one goal and two assists, his first goal came just 58 seconds into the game to give the Wave an early 2-0 lead. Ian Bennett added a goal late in the quarter to extend the Wave lead to 4-0.
The Blast fought back, tying the game at 4-4 on early second-quarter goals from Lucio Gonzaga and Mike Lookingland but the Wave dominated much of the game from that point. The Wave regained the lead midway through the quarter on a three-point goal from Giuliano Oliviero that deflected off a Blast defender past Sagu. In typical Blast vs. Wave fashion, a fight broke out late in the second quarter that resulted in Baltimore's Giuliano Celenza and Machel Millwood and Milwaukee's Josh Rife in the penalty box serving five-minute misconduct penalties.
Marcio Leite added another three-point Wave goal in the third quarter to make it 10-4.
Greg Howes, who came out of retirement with three games left in the regular season, scored in the fourth minute of the final quarter to extend the Wave lead to 12-4 and Travis MacKenzie added a goal to make it 14-4. Blast defender and MISL Defender of the Year Pat Morris scored a three-point goal at 9:01 to cut the Wave lead to 14-7 but Evan McNeley added a late goal to give the Wave the 16-7 victory and 2011 MISL Championship. Seven different players scored for the Wave; three players scored for the Blast.
The 2010-11 Regular Season:
The Blast went 15-5 and won the 2010-11 regular season title and the right to host the Championship Game. The team started the season with five straight wins and then went on an eight game win streak from January 21 to February 27. Head coach Danny Kelly was named MISL Coach of the Year and his team includes Pat Morris, the Defender of the Year and Sagu, the Goalkeeper of the Year. Morris and Sagu were also First-Team All-MISL selections and Pat Healey and Mike Lookingland were named Second-Team All-MISL. Healey led the Blast with 17 goals and 13 assists for 48 points, followed by Max Ferdinand with 43 points and Morris, the highest-scoring defender in the MISL, tied Machel Millwood for third with 42 points. Nine Blast players ranked among the MISL’s top 25 scorers this season, and Morris and Mike Lookingland ranked second and third in the league with 36 and 35 blocks, respectively.
The Blast’s offensive unit led the MISL, having recorded 279 points and the team scored at least 10 points in every game but two this season.
2011 was the Blast’s sixth championship appearance in nine years; the team won championships in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2009..
The Milwaukee Wave:
The Wave advanced to the Championship after beating the Missouri Comets, two games to one, in the 2011 MISL Semifinals. The Comets won Game One and the Wave won Game Two, forcing a 15-minute Mini Game. With Marcel Feenstra in goal, the Wave won the Mini Game, 5-2, on goals from Marco Terminesi and Howes. Terminesi, a First-Team All-MISL selection, led the Wave and ranked second in the MISL with 72 points. Oliviero followed with 48 points and Hewerton Moreira ranked third on the Wave with 40 points on the season. Terminesi recorded 18 points against the Blast in the regular season (one three-point goal, six two-point goals and three assists). Rife, a defender, and goalkeeper Nick Vorberg were named Second-Team All-MISL. Rife recorded 20 blocks to tie for sixth in the league and Vorberg went 9-4 on the season and ranked third in the MISL with a 9.92 points against average.
Vorberg missed the game with groin and knee injuries, opening the door for Feenstra who went 6-1 on the season and led the league with an 8.18 PAA. Howes, one of the Wave’s most storied players, retired in 2008 after eight seasons with the Wave but re-joined the team with three games remaining in the regular season. He recorded 12 points (three goals and six assists) in those three games.
Baltimore and Milwaukee share a long history, dating back to the 1992-93 season when the teams played each other for the first time. The Blast won the six-game 2010-11 regular season series, 4-2, with the Wave winning the first and last games of the series. The Wave leads the all-time regular season series, 45-28, though the Blast is 9-4 against the Wave in the postseason. The teams have combined to win 10 of the last 14 league championships (each team has won five).
The Blast and Wave had similar seasons, each going 15-5 and winning eight home games and seven road games. The Blast led the MISL with 279 points scored while the Wave was second with 266 points; the Wave’s defensive unit allowed just 191 points, the fewest in the league while the Blast ranked second, allowing only 198 points. Baltimore’s power play unit also led the league, scoring on 16 of 28 man-advantage opportunities (57.14%) and the Wave was second, having converted on 52.57% of their power play attempts.
Blast vs. Wave, Playoff History:
2002 The Wave beat the Blast, 18-12, in the Semifinals
2003 The Blast beat the Wave, two games to one, to win the MISL Championship
2004 The Blast beat the Wave, three games none, to win the MISL Championship
2006 The Blast beat the Wave, two games to one, to advance to the MISL Championship
2008 The Blast beat the Wave, two games to none, to advance to the MISL Championship
2011 The Blast and Wave will meet in the MISL Championship
Blast vs. Wave, 2010-11 Regular Season:
January 8, 1st Mariner Arena - L, 12-15
January 9, U.S. Cellular Arena - W, 12-6
January 21, 1st Mariner Arena - W, 14-6
February 4, U.S. Cellular Arena - W, 15-6
February 20, 1st Mariner Arena - W, 20-9
March 6, U.S. Cellular Arena - L, 10-15
The 2011 MISL Postseason:
Semifinal No. 1
Wednesday, March 16
Milwaukee Wave 5 at Missouri Comets 11
Semifinal No. 2
Sunday, March 20
Missouri Comets 18 at Milwaukee Wave 20
Semifinal No. 3 (mini game)
Sunday, March 20
Missouri Comets 2 at Milwaukee Wave 5
Friday, March 25
Milwaukee Wave 16 at Baltimore Blast 7