It's a good thing the Buffalo Blizzard didn't have anything to play for Thursday night, especially against the best home team in the National Professional Soccer League.
The Milwaukee Wave outscored the Blizzard, 10-2, in the fourth quarter to pull away for a 20-13 victory before 6,829 at the Bradley Center.
The win put the Central Division champions (27-12) one game ahead of Midwest champs St. Louis for home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. The Wave has already locked up the best record in the NPSL's American Conference.
Playing at the Bradley Center would be a huge advantage for Milwaukee. The Wave are 54-5 there the last three years, including 18-1 this season.
The Blizzard, whose postseason spot is secured, rested several key players. Regulars Rudy Pikuzinski, Jimmy Glenn and David Banks didn't play, and Andrew Crawford, who is coming off a quadriceps injury, only played in the first half.
The young reserves had Buffalo in front, 11-10, going into the fourth quarter, but Milwaukee quickly took command.
Peter Hattrup, who scored seven points for the Wave, had a pair of two-point goals to give his team a 14-11 lead at the 5:28 mark. Randy Pikuzinski countered for the Blizzard with a corner kick that sailed over Milwaukee's three-man defensive wall and over the goalkeeper into the net for two points. But the Wave took over from there and pulled away.
Rick Titus led Buffalo with three two-point goals. Mike DiNunzio and rookie Evan Whitson and Randy Pikuzinski each had a two-pointer and Armando Valdivia added a one-point goal.
The Blizzard, 6-12 on the road, travel to Detroit Saturday to take on the Rockers at 1:05 p.m. (Radio 107.7). The contest will be televised by the Empire Sports Network.