TOWSON, Md. (February 9, 2024) – The Baltimore Blast utilized a strong first half to defeat the Empire Strykers on Friday night at TU Arena.
Baltimore led 6-1 at halftime, which was a large enough lead to hold off the Strykers’ late rally. The Blast won, 9-7, and improved to 6-6-1 on the season.
It didn’t take long for Baltimore to get on the board, with Jesus Pacheco finding Juan Pereira wide open to take a 1-0 lead in the first minute. Just over five minutes into the game, Baltimore stretched its lead to 3-0, and it added another at the 6:26 mark.
Baltimore led 4-0 after the first quarter. Pereira continued to lead the team, recording a goal and an assist in the first quarter.
The scoring onslaught continued into the second quarter. Baltimore picked up two more goals in the quarter’s first five minutes to give the Blast a 6-0 lead.
Empire got on the board with just over five minutes remaining in the second quarter after Garrett Blume scored on an assist from Moustapha Gueye. Baltimore took a 6-1 lead into halftime.
Four players scored two points in the first half for Baltimore. Pereira, Oumar Sylla and Tony Donatelli recorded a goal and an assist while Ricardinho Sobreira scored two goals.
The Blast once again started the quarter hot, scoring a goal in the first five minutes. Pereira picked up his third point in the match, an assist to Jereme Raley.
But Empire went on a bit of a run, scoring two straight goals to cut the Strykers’ deficit to 7-3. Gueye picked up his second assist on a goal by Abdul Mansaray. Then, on a power play, Marco Fabian netted a goal to make it a three-goal game. Justin Stinson picked up an assist.
The run ended when Baltimore took a 2-1 and Adriano Dos Santos scored a wide-open goal on a pass from Ricardo Diegues. The Blast led 8-4 after the third quarter.
Empire’s run continued into the fourth quarter. The team worked back to a two-goal deficit with five minutes left.
Baltimore goalkeeper Mike Zierhoffer put the game out of reach with less than three minutes remaining. A full-field heave while Empire had a sixth attacker on resulted in a goal, giving Baltimore a 9-6 lead.