A six-goal second quarter jump started the attack as Utica City defeated the Baltimore Blast 12-9 in a thrilling Game One of the Eastern Division Finals. Mauricio Salles led the way with four goals, while Joey Tavernese scored twice and Domenico Vitale, Liam Callahan, Bo Jelovac, Lucio Gonzaga and Jake Schindler all chipped in with a goal each. Andrew Coughlin made 14 saves in the win.
Jereme Raley put Baltimore up 1-0 three minutes into the game off of a deflected ball in front of the Utica net.
Gonzaga scored off a restart 37 seconds into the second quarter. Jamie Thomas gave Baltimore the lead back less than a minute later. Callahan knotted the game up at two with a long shot off of a restart at the 2:36 mark of the quarter. Salles scored off another restart to give Utica their first lead of the night five minutes into the second quarter. Schindler followed up 16 seconds later off a back heel pass from Jelovac to double Utica’s lead. Tavernese deflected a pass from Schindler to go up 5-2. Salles buried a Jelovac rebound for his second of the night to continue the onslaught halfway through the second quarter.
Vini Dantas ended the scoring run 52 seconds into the third quarter. Salles responded with his third of the night two minutes later. Dantas and Sam Guernsey scored back-to-back to bring the score to 7-5 three minutes into the third. Salles earned his fourth of the night with a left-footed strike off a restart at the 4:36 mark of the third. Bourdeau restored the four-goal lead a minute and a half later, depositing a loose ball past the Blast goalkeeper. Adriano Dos Santos scored on the power play with five minutes to go in the third to bring the Blast back within three.
Mike Deasel scored 48 seconds into the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 9-7. Tony Donatelli brought Baltimore back within one with 7:14 to play in the fourth. Guernsey tied the game with a bicycle kick 12 seconds later. Jelovac scored the go-ahead goal for Utica with 4:13 to play in regulation. Vitale and Tavernese added empty net goals late to secure the win.
The two teams will meet again Monday night for Game Two. Kickoff at the Adirondack Bank Center is at 6:30 p.m.
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