The Missouri Comets broke up the "good old boys" finals of the past few seasons. After the Baltimore Blast took care of the Chicago Soul last night in Baltimore and the Milwaukee win at the Independence Events Center it looked like the league was on it's way to a third straight Baltimore vs Milwaukee finals series. Instead, the Comets scored the final goal of regulation with under a minute remaining to send the game to the mini game with a 9-8 win, and scored with only 5 seconds left in the mini game to book the trip to the final winning 5-4. The Comets will now play the Blast, looking to win their first title since the team relaunched 3 years ago.
Here's the press release from the team about the two games.
In what has been the most exciting playoff series so far this year, the Comets and Milwaukee Wave battled for 75 minutes to determine who would face the Baltimore Blast for the MISL Championship. The MISL Playoffs are played with two full games and, if necessary, a 15 minute ‘mini-game’ to decide the winner. After being down 8-5 in Game Two and 4-3 in the ‘mini-game’ the Comets came back both times to win Game Two 9-8 and Game Three 5-4.
After losing Game One 12-10 in overtime on Thursday night, the Comets knew they had a big mountain to climb today. To advance to the next round, they would first have to be only the second team to win in Milwaukee’s US Cellular Arena this season and then beat them again in a 15 minute ‘Mini-Game’.
They got behind early when the Game One hero for Milwaukee, Guiliano Oliverio scored halfway through the opening quarter. Oliviero’s initial shot was saved by Comets goalkeeper, Danny Waltman, but was still bouncing slowly towards the goal-line. Vahid Assadpour raced to save it off the line, but his shot went off Oliviero’s head and in the net. Jeff Hughes put the Comets on the board 3 minutes later when his cross in front of the Wave goal was deflected in by the Milwaukee defender. In the second quarter, the Wave were the only ones to tally a score and took a 4-2 lead into the half.
The Comets and Wave traded goals in the third period. Coady Andrews’ goal was a three-point shot that went between the legs of two Milwaukee defenders before passing Wave goalkeeper, Marcel Feenstra. Andrews’ goal got the Comets to within one point and they were only down 6-5 as they entered the final quarter of Game Two.
Oliviero tried to put it away for Milwaukee nine seconds into the fourth quarter. He took advantage of a defensive miscue from the Comets and scored over Danny Waltman’s head. Leading 8-5, the Wave fell into a defensive shell, giving Missouri the bulk of the possession in the quarter. Feenstra was unrelenting though as he faced several shots from the Comets and turned most of them away. Brian Harris was able to get the Comets back within one though when he took a shot from outside the penalty box that ricocheted through the Wave defense and into the net. The Comets brought Vahid Assadpour on as a sixth attacker with around two minutes remaining in the game to try and overcome their 8-7 deficit. With 34 seconds remaining they were able to do just that when Leo Gibson, returning from a three-game suspension, deflected a ball into the net. The Comets won Game Two 9-8, forcing a Game Three ‘Mini-Game’.
The ‘Mini-Game’ is a full 15 minute period and counts as a completely separate game, with scores reset to zero. Coady Andrews, who scored only four goals all season, knocked in his second three-point goal of the day only two minutes into the extra game. Milwaukee is the two-time defending champion though and was not ready to give up their chance for a three-peat. Luan Oliviera weaved through the Comets defense for a goal, then had the assist four minutes later when Hewerton’s goal put the Wave in front 4-3 with a little over five minutes to play.
Once again, bringing on Assadpour as the sixth attacker proved to be the solution. The extra pressure that comes from having one more attacker than the Wave had defenders forced Milwaukee to put the ball out of bounds and gave the Comets a corner kick with less than twenty seconds left. Milan Ivanovic threaded the needle on the restart and found a wide-open Byron Alvarez at the penalty mark. The former MISL MVP wasted no time and buried the shot and the Wave.
The Comets advance to the MISL Finals for the first time since they returned to the league in 2010. Game One will be played at the Independence Events Center on Thursday March 14th at 7:35pm. Tickets will be on sale tomorrow, March 11th, at 1:00pm. The Comets offices will be open at 9:00am. For questions and information call 855.4KC.GOAL (855.452.4625).