Share this article

print logo

BLIZZARD CRUNCHED BY CLEVELAND, 22-14, IN TUNE-UP FOR PLAYOFFS

If Buffalo is going to go anywhere in the National Professional Soccer League postseason, the Blizzard can't afford a repeat of Friday night.

The Cleveland Crunch scored 10 points in the fourth quarter to hand the Blizzard a 22-14 loss before 8,952 at the Cleveland State University Convocation Center.

The Blizzard will face the Crunch in the first round of the playoffs which start March 31. The Crunch has eliminated Buffalo from the playoffs the past two seasons.

"Overall, we played well," said Blizzard coach Jim May. "The game could have gone either way. The momentum shifted back and fourth in the fourth quarter. We had our chances to win."

Paul Dougherty had three goals and an assist for the Blizzard (19-20). He had the only three-point goal for Buffalo. The Crunch (30-9) led, 4-3, after the first quarter and 8-5 at the half. Buffalo outscored Cleveland, 7-4, in the third quarter, but had no answer for the 10-point barrage.

Dougherty started the game with his three-point goal on an assist from Randy Pikuzinski, but Cleveland scored the next seven points. It was the first of three assists for Pikuzinski.

But Buffalo had a run of its own in the second half and scored nine unanswered points on four goals. The last goal in the spurt, a two-pointer by Dougherty, tied it, 14-14, just 41 seconds into the fourth quarter. But the goal would be Buffalo's last.

Cleveland goalie keeper Otto Orf, an Elma native, had two assists, to give him a record 19 points. The old record was 18 held by Detroit's Bryan Finnerty.

The final game of Buffalo's regular season will be against the Harrisburg Heat Sunday at 2 p.m. in Memorial Auditorium.

There are no comments - be the first to comment