Saturday, February 22, 2014

Comets Close Home Schedule With Win

The Missouri Comets closed out their regular season home schedule tonight in a tight game against their cross state rivals the St. Louis Ambush. Neither team was able to get too far ahead throughout the night as the teams traded goals for much of the game. The Ambush got the scoring just over a minute into the game as Danny Waltman tried to cut out a through ball. Unfortunately his sliding clearance hit off of St. Louis forward Corey Adamson and in for a 2-0 lead. The Comets responded immediately as Stefan St. Louis got the ball in the corner and then crossed to the back post where newly acquiured Max Touloute knocked it home to make it 2-2. A little over three minutes in though the Ambush were back in front.  Danny Waltman got caught up field and the Ambush countered. Lucky for Waltman, Andre Braithwaite got back and was able to block the shot. Unfortunately off the insuing restart, Odaine Sinclair was picked out by Michael Roach and the Ambush were back in front. Again the Comets response was immediate and again it came from the combination of St. Louis and Touloute. St. Louis got played through on a break away, but cut back as his defender rushed past him. He squared to Touloute who fired home to make it 4-4. The Ambush high pressured for much of the rest of the quarter. The Ambush also got some help as John Sosa picked up a blue card. Jake Bleyenberg took advantage of the power play and scored to give the Ambush the lead. Before the quarter was through the Ambush had extended their lead to four as Mike Mesle fired a shot into the corner to make it 8-4 Ambush after one quarter.

Early on in the second quarter the Comets had a number of good opportunities, especially for Milan Ivanovic. He had one chance saved by St. Louis goalkeeper Greg Crook and another hit the inside of the post. Finally he found net just two minutes in on a cross by Leo Gibson that IVanovic headed home to cut the St. Louuis lead to 8-6. Just over five minutes in the Comets went on the power play after Gibson was knocked into the boards. It didn't take long for the Comets to take advantage. After passing the ball around at the top of the box, Lucas Rodriguez played the ball into the corner for Bryan Perez. Perez turned and fired a shot into the roof of the net to tie the game at 8-8. Less than a minute later, the Ambush were back on top. After a Comets attack, Sinclair sprung Jeff DiMaria on a counter. He fired a shot from just outside the 3 point line that beat Waltman and made it 11-8 Ambush. Once again the Comets responded almost immediately as Perez got his second goal of the game. A cross by Ramone Palmer was cut out, but Perez was crashing the box and knocked the deflected cross past Crook and into the net to make it 11-10 Ambush.

Shortly after the half way point of the quarter, tempers started to get a little heated. After a foul by Sinclair on Lucas Rodriguez, the Comets midfielder elbowed the Ambush forward earning him a blue card and bringing the teams together in the corner. After the teams were separated and the referees had a chance to talk it over, the Ambush's Roach was also sent to the box for pushing. With the game 4v4 for two minutes, the Comets were the agressors pinning the Ambush in their own end of the field. After the Comets lost the ball in the Ambush end, Gibson won the ball back and played it to Ramone Palmer. Palmer's shot to the back post hit the wall and bounced to an unmarked Alex Megson who tapped the ball home to give the Comets their first lead of the game at 12-11.

One thing over the course of the evening that turned into a problem for the Ambush was their distribution out of the back. They gave the Comets a number of restarts at the top of the arc because of their playing the ball out of bounds. With just under two minutes to play the Comets took advantage of one of those opportunities. Rodriguez touched the ball to John Sosa whose shot went through the wall and into the net to give the Comets a 14-11 lead. The Comets almost added to their lead in the final seconds but Crook made a couple saves and Touloute had a header saved off the line.

Early in the third quarter, the Ambush cut the lead to one point off a restart. The ball was played into the corner for Sinclair who tapped the ball across the box for Mesle who put the ball home to make it 14-13. The Comets continued to control the play in the game, keeping the Ambush pinned deep. Just after the six minute mark the Comets got the lead back to three as Gibson won the ball from Crook in the Ambush end. After turning to face up field he fired a ball to the back post. Sosa was there to turn the ball home and make it 16-13. As the quarter wore on though the Ambush started to get more of the play and they were the ones pinning the Comets in deep. The Comets tried to use Gibson as an outlet, but Crook did good coming off his line. Until with just over a minute left Gibson was used as an outlet and got a touch past Crook. In the corner with no angle at goal, Gibson hit the ball off the wall into the middle where Ramone Palmer had arrived to tap the ball home and give the Comets a five point lead. The Ambush closed the quarter book ending it with a goal in the final minute. Again the Comets were trying to clear their lines. This time the ball ran into the referee who couldn't get out of the way. This left the ball in the Comets end  And Adamson fed the ball to Bleyenberg who hit a turning volley that beat Waltman to make it 18-15.

In the fourth quarter the Ambush continued to push while the Comets relied more on the counter. Again the Comets were using Gibson and it paid off about three and a half minutes in as Waltman played the ball down field to Gibson. The forward turned his man and fired a shot inside Crook's near post to make it 20-15. A couple minutes later the Comets found themselves back on the power play. Chad Vandergriffe had lost the ball to Ramone Palmer at the Comets yellow line. After the ball had been played wide to Stefan Stokic Vandergriffe came in with a sliding challenge that drew a blue card. It took less than 10 seconds for the Comets to take advantage as Rodriguez picked out Gibson just outside the yellow line. He shrugged off two defenders and fired from 3 point range beating Crook to make it 23-15. The Ambush didn't give up though and continued pushing Sinclair got his second goal of the night eight and a half minutes into the fourth quarter when his shot took a deflection and rolled past a wrong footed Waltman. Then Chris Mattingly got on the board to cut the lead to four. After a shot had skimmed around the top of the goal to the far side, Mattingly settled and fired inside Waltman's post to make it 23-19. A minute later though the Comets responded as Brian Harris raced the length of the floor down the sideline before cutting inside and firing a rocket from three point range that beat Crook to make it 26-19.

With the three score game and just two and a half minutes left, Waltman made way for Brendan Allen for his MISL debut. The Ambush controlled much of the play in the final couuple minutes but didn't go with the sixth attacker. With less than 30 seconds left the Ambush cut the lead back to five poinst as a Kory Dowell shot off the boards fell to Richard Schmermund who knocked the ball home to make close out the scoring.

The Comets now head out on the road for their final three games, a pair against Milwaukee with a game in St. Louis sandwiched in between before the playoffs. Current the Comets hold the three seed in the playoffs and would play the Baltimore Blast if the playoffs began today.

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