Baltimore Blast forward Vini Dantas scored three goals, including his team-leading 15th of the season and, in the end, that three-goal margin was the difference in the game as the three-time defending MASL champion Blast defeated the Mississauga MetroStars 6-3 at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre Friday night.

 Both teams enjoyed long stretches of possession in the first quarter but generated few scoring opportunities, with the only goal of the period coming off the foot of Ibrahim Keita who put the Blast ahead at 4:41 of that first quarter.

 The MetroStars started brightly in the second quarter and hit for two goals within 1:28 to take the lead. Josh Paredes got the Mississauga scoring started with a low, left foot shot that beat Blast ‘keeper William Vanzela at the near post. Then Jarred Phillips finished off a give and go with Darren Chambers to put the hosts ahead.

 But Dantas would hit the tying goal for Baltimore just 90 seconds later on an assist from Jamie Thomas. Then, with just 30 seconds to play before halftime, sustained pressure by the Blast resulted in the go-ahead goal by Thomas.

 Baltimore netted twice more early in the third quarter, first through Jonatas Melo with his 12th goal of the season, and then through a Dantas shorthanded tally. But Matthew Rios brought the MetroStars to within two with his 5th of the season and Mississauga trailed 5-3 going into the final quarter.  

 Dantas completed the hattrick at 5:16 of the fourth quarter and, despite the MetroStars using a sixth attacker for the final six minutes, Vanzela would not concede another goal.

 With the loss, the MetroStars’ record in the MASL’s Eastern Division falls to 2-11 while the Blast improves to 9-5.

 The MetroStars continue their homestand at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre Sunday when they host the Harrisburg Heat in another all-Eastern Division battle. Kickoff is set for 3:05pm (ET).