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Blast's quest for MASL title continues Friday

Posted: 3:38 PM, Mar 15, 2018
Updated: 2018-03-15 17:34:42-04

The Baltimore Blast haven’t lost a home game this year. 12 games. 12 wins.

They’ll need 13 at SECU Arena to keep their season alive. 

The final home game of the 2017-18 Baltimore Blast season is on tap. A ticket to the Major Arena Soccer League Championship game is on the line.

"It's an amazing feeling," said Blast forward Andrew Hoxie. " It's hard to win one championship. It's really hard to win two. But to win three in a row, that's a really tough feat."

And it's still within reach. 

The two-time defending champion Blast host the Milwaukee Wave Friday night in the Eastern Conference Final. Milwaukee is Baltimore’s biggest rival and lost to the Blast in the same round last year.

"Every time we play them it's a battle. Every single time," added Hoxie.

"I think it's going to come down to who can implement their style and who can take over the tempo of the game and set the pace," said Blast leading scorer Tony Donatelli. "We're hoping here at home that we're able to do that."

This year brings a change in the playoff format. Friday’s contest will be single game elimination instead of a best-of-three series like in previous years. That could work to the Blast's advantage. 

"We absolutely thrive when our backs are against the wall. We've proven it time and time again over the years," added Donatelli.

"One mistake can cost you a goal and a game," said Blast Head Coach Danny Kelly. "We've been able to thrive in those situations."

The winner of Friday’s game advances to face either Monterrey or San Diego. The Western Conference winner will host the MASL title game.

The expectation is that Baltimore will be there.

"Like the Yankees or the Patriots in football, you're judged on how many championships you're able to win and anything less is considered a disappointment," said Donatelli.  "That's the way we want it. That's the way we expect it and we enjoy it."

Friday's game is scheduled to start at 7:35 p.m.

Follow Shawn Stepner on Twitter @StepnerWMAR and Facebook