Three-Time Champion Blast Visit Milwaukee to bid for fourth title
Baltimore Players to Watch:
The Blast head to Milwaukee after eliminating Utica City FC in the Divisional Round. This is the third straight season that these two teams will face off in the Conference Championship game, with Baltimore having won the last two meetings. During the regular season, the Wave swept the season series with the Blast 2-0, conceding only two goals in both games. The Blast playoff run has been led by Andrew Hoxie. Hoxie leads the MASL in points at six, tied for second in goals with four, and is tied for second in points per game average at 2.0. Hoxie is also tied for second on the league leaderboard for assists with two, joining teammates Vini Dantas, Jamie Thomas and Mike Deasel. Adriano Dos Santos has been the spark on special teams play for the Blast as he has netted two power play goals which leads the MASL this postseason.
After a tough game one, Vanzela bounced back in game two and the mini-game with a .778 save percentage and a 3.20 GAA over those two games.
The Blast were able to overcome injuries and rough patches to grab the second Eastern Division spot and their twelfth consecutive postseason appearance. They entered the postseason winning four of their last five games. Jonatas Melo led the team with 41 points and 22 assists, while Vini Dantas led the team in goals with 23. Strong defense was a theme this season as Mike Deasel and Jereme Raley both set the pace with 18 blocked shots, resulting in career highs for both. The Blast were able to depend on their goalkeeper William Vanzela, once again, who led the league in save percentage at 75.3% and was third in the league in Goals Against Average at 4.09. The Blast look to defy the odds as the lowest seeded team left in the playoffs and capture their fourth straight MASL championship. The Blast will be without Marco Nascimento, Daniel Peruzzi, Lucas Roque, and Elton de Oliveira. The Blast are coached by Head Coach Danny Kelly and Assistant Coach David Bascome.
The Competition – Milwaukee Wave
The Wave beat the Comets in back to back games to take the best of three series. They collectively outscored the Comets 15-5 in the two games with a 10-3 win Saturday afternoon to advance. They were led by goalie Josh Lemos who had a 2.64 GAA and an 80% save percentage. The Wave have four players who are tied for second in points for the playoffs. Ian Bennett leads the team with three goals, two of which were power play goals and Chad Vandegriffe and Leonardo De Oliveira lead the team with 2 assists. Strong defense was the theme in the series as Jonatan Santos and Marcio Leite lead the way with 5 blocked shots.
This season against the Blast, the Wave won both match ups holding them to two goals in both games. The Wave handed the Blast their second lost ever at SECU Arena. Max Ferdinand put up four points in the two games, one goal and three assists. The Blast lead the all-time series the playoffs 13-7. Ian Bennett was a key part of the offense for them this season ranking second in goals with 47, fifth in points with 57 and led the league in power play goals with nine. Max Ferdinand was third in the league in assists with 27. Josh Lemos had a 3.30 GAA this season which led the league. Additionally, he finished behind Blast goalkeeper William Vanzela in save percentage.