Sunday, March 20, 2011

Comets Season Ends in Milwaukee

The Comets just needed to win Game Two of the Playoff Series against the Wave in Milwaukee or, if the Wave won, the ensuing 15 minute mini-game afterwards to advance to the MISL Championship Game against Baltimore. The Comets lost both games Sunday at U.S. Cellular Center, ending an unexpected and thrilling run to finish their season.

Despite being down at halftime by a score of 13-2 and seemingly dead in the water, the Comets staged a dramatic comeback to score 11 points in the 4th period, including three goals in just over a minute, to take a one point lead with four minutes to play. However, at the 11:34 mark, a Milwaukee 3-point goal that ricocheted off a Comets defender and past Comets’ keeper, Danny Waltman, gave the Wave the victory in game two of the series by a score of 20-18.

With the series tied up 1-1, it was on to the deciding mini-game – an extra 15 minute period to decide who gets to move on to play the Blast on Friday night. After a five minute break between games, it was the Wave striking first, with Josh Rife nailing a 3-pointer at the 3:39 mark. Shortly after, it was Greg Howes of the Wave bending a right-footed restart kick past a wall of Comets defenders and Waltman to give the Wave a 5-0 lead. With Vahid Assadpour inserted as a 6th attacker, the Comets’ Byron Alvarez mustered the team’s only goal of the mini-game with 15 seconds left in the match. Final score: Wave 5, Comets 2.

The two losses Sunday end the Comets’ inaugural season that saw the team start with a 1-6 record, then 4-11 after a February 6th loss in Chicago that dropped them into last place in the MISL standings. The Comets closed out the regular season on a tear, winning four out of their last five games to earn a spot in the playoffs. After defeating the Wave 11-5 in Game One of the playoff series Wednesday night at the Independence Events Center, all the pressure was on Milwaukee to win both matches Sunday.

It was apparent that the Milwaukee didn’t appreciate being shut out for 3½ periods by the Comets on Wednesday night in Game One of the MISL Playoffs, as the Wave came out swinging early and often Sunday afternoon. It was an epic battle between the MISL’s two leading scorers: the Comets’ Byron Alvarez and the Wave’s Marco Terminisi, and neither star disappointed. Alvarez led the Comets with 4 goals in the first match and another goal in the mini-game, for five on the day, while Terminisi had a hat trick two minutes into the 2nd period of the earlier game, tallying four on the afternoon.

The Wave got things started with a pair of goals by Terminisi; the first off a shot that was deflected into the goal by Comets’ midfielder, Geison Moura on a restart, then the second off a long outlet pass where Terminisi went right around the Comets’ Vahid Assadpour, then faked out Waltman to give the Wave an early 4-0 lead. At the 6:54 mark, it was the Wave’s Jonathon Greenfield scoring, with Waltman held up in the back of the net by Milwaukee’s Travis McKenzie, extending their early 1st quarter lead to 6-0.

The Comets finally stopped the bleeding at the 7:21 mark of the 1st period with a restart goal by Geison Moura. A minute later, the Wave answered as Evan McNeley cleared space for Marcio Leite who put a shot past Waltman to make the score 8-2. Twelve seconds after the kickoff, the Wave’s Jonathan Santos, simply trying to clear the ball from the back, lofted a ball from ¾ field that went over Waltman, who was playing up at the time, resulting in a 3-point goal. First quarter score: Wave 11, Comets 2.

At the 1:51 mark of the 2nd period, Terminisi got the early hat trick after Giuliano Oliviero got around the Comets’ Stokic and found Terminisi in front of the net for an easy goal. After a 1st period that saw six goals scored in it, the second period ended with the Wave maintaining a 13-2 advantage. The Wave took 22 shots to the Comets’ 12 for the half.

At 6:54 in the 3rd period, Tiguinho got the Comets’ second goal of the day on a shot rifled from beyond the arc that the Wave’s Vorberg had no chance at saving to make the score 13-5. After a 2-minute penalty called on the Comets’ Bryan Perez, Troy Dusosky launched a shot from the right side past Waltman to extend the Wave’s lead back to ten points at 15-5. With the Comets on a power play, Byron Alvarez hit an impressive near-bicycle kick goal from the left side on a ball that bounced around the goal off a Geison Moura shot. Minutes later, the Wave followed with their own power play score on Terminisi’s 4th goal of the game to end the 3rd period with the Wave leading 17-7.

The 4th period began with back-to-back goals by the Comets’ Alvarez (giving him the hat trick) on assists by Tiguinho and Beasley to pull the Comets to within six points at 17-11. With five minutes left in the game, Leo Gibson of the Comets dribbled the ball the length of the field and fired a 3-point shot past Vorberg, and all of a sudden the Comets were only down three points. Then it was Gibson scoring again 49 seconds later on a pass from Geison Moura to pull the Comets within a single point. Incredibly, the Comets took the lead 30 seconds later after Jamie Harding fed Alvarez a pass in front of the goal, catching Vorberg out of position to give the Comets their first lead of the game at 18-17. The lead lasted only 20 seconds, as Greg Howes of the Wave hit a 3-point shot at the 11:34 mark that deflected off the head of the Comets’ Stefan Stokic and past Waltman to give the Wave the win, 20-18. The Wave now move on to play the Baltimore Blast at 1st Mariner Arena Friday night for the MISL Championship.

“I am so proud of the way our guys played today,” said Comets’ Head Coach, Kim Roentved. “To come back like we did in the first heart hurts for these guys, but we will keep our heads held high. We have so much to build on…I can’t wait for next season to get here.”

Box Score:

Mini-Game Box Score:

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