The Eastern Division Finals: Baltimore Blast vs. Rochester Lancers Game One - Blast 8 - Lancers 2 Game Two - Monday, March 12, Blue Cross Arena, 7 p.m.
The Details: Blast: 18-6, Eastern Division Regular Season Champions
Lancers: 11-13, Second place Eastern Division
Led by two goals from leading scorer Max Ferdinand, the Blast earned an 8-2 win over the Rochester Lancers in Game One of the Eastern Division Finals. The Lancers struck first for a 2-0 lead but Sagu and the Blast defense held Rochester scoreless for the rest of the game. When the teams meet again Monday night in Rochester the Lancers will be without their leading scorer Mauricio Salles who was ejected late in the game.
Andrew Hoxie scored at 7:55 of the first quarter for the Lancers' early 2-0 lead that held until Ferdinand's first goal tied the game late in the second quarter.
Blast defender Mike Lookingland broke the tie late in the third quarter for a 4-2 Blast lead and rookie J.T. Noone added a fourth-quarter goal to put the Blast on top 6-2. Ferdinand converted a shootout goal at 6:43 of the final quarter to extend Baltimore's lead to 8-2 following a handball penalty on Lancers goalkeeper Pat Hannigan. With less than three minutes remaining in the game, and Carlos Farias acting as the sixth attacker, Salles was given a blue card for a hard tackle against Pat Healey. Salles went to the penalty box but was ejected from the game before play resumed.
The Blast took the field without Adauto Neto (hamstring) and Stephen DeRoux (knee) who were injured this week in practice and are questionable for Monday's Game Two. Scott Buete (ankle) was also missing from the lineup due to an injury from the last regular season game in Syracuse.
The Blast ended the 2011-12 MISL regular season with an 18-6 record and a firm hold on the Eastern Division regular season title en route to the upcoming Eastern Division Finals against the Rochester Lancers. The 2012 postseason is the Blast’s fifth-consecutive trip to the playoffs and the 16th trip to the postseason in 20 years.
The Blast and Lancers met four times in the regular season with Baltimore earning four wins, two at home and two on the road, and outscoring Rochester, 49-25. Twelve Blast players scored against the Lancers, including Neto who led the way with five goals and three assists (13 points). Neto, who recorded a hat trick in Baltimore’s 23-9 win on November 26, was one of four Blast players to record at least one point in all four games against the Lancers ( Ferdinand, Machel Millwood and Lookingland were the others). Hoxie led the Lancers with three goals and one assist (seven points) against Baltimore while Doug Miller and Jeremy Ortiz each recorded four points in the series.
Ferdinand, who earned the MISL Assists award for leading the league with 25 assists, led the Blast with 72 points, followed by Millwood(70 points), Neto (49) and Carlos Garcia (48). In goal, Sagu went 15-5 on the season and earned the MISL’s points against average for his league-leading 9.61 PAA while Akira Fitzgerald went 3-1. The team featured eight new players this year, five of whom were new to the indoor game. Veterans Ricardinho (five goals, five assists), Ptah Myers (four goals, three assists) and Shaun David (10 goals, seven assists) joined the Blast after spending previous years with a variety of other squads. Rookies Noone (14 goals, three assists), DeRoux (10 goals, one assist) and Mike Deasel (14 points, five blocks) all made their way into the lineup and made an immediate impact on the team. Like in seasons past, the Blast had success on both ends of the field, recording the second-most goals of any team (165) and allowing just 108 goals, the fewest allowed by any team this season.
The Lancers went 11-13 overall and 5-7 on the road, finishing the regular season seven games behind the Blast. The team was led by the MISL’s second-leading scorer Salles who recorded 81 points. Miller was second on the team with 66 points, followed by Lubo Kocic’s 49 regular-season points. Rochester's roster was bolstered late in the season by the addition of John Ball who started his indoor career in 1996-97 with the Cleveland Crunch. Ball recorded five points and five blocks in five games. In goal, Pat Hannigan went 10-10 on the season, allowing 122 goals and a 13.12 points against average. Hannigan was in goal for each of the four regular-season games against the Blast.
Blast vs. Lancers, 2011-12:
November 26 at Blue Cross Arena, W, 23-9 December 3 at Blue Cross Arena, W, 10-4 January 7at1st Mariner Arena, W, 8-5 January 28at1st Mariner Arena, W, 8-7 March 10 at 1st Mariner Arena, W, 8-2
Broadcast Information: Every MISL postseason game will be available via live webcast at www.MISLlivesoccer.com.