The Missouri Comets closed out the regular season today against the Tacoma Stars at the Independence Events Center. It took the Comets a little while to get going, but when they did they played Tacoma completely off the field on their way to a 17-1 win over the Stars.
The Comets came out in the first quarter and controlled the game, but the Stars did a good job of staying with the Comets and keeping them off the board for much of the first quarter. Unfortunately for the Stars they couldn't hold out forever, and in the final five minutes were completely undone by Leo Gibson and the Comets high pressure. Gibson, on his way to a career day scored all four of the Comets goals in the final five minutes of the quarter. First winning the ball on a turnover in the Stars end and scoring. Less than a minute later, Gibson found himself unmarked at the back post after a good run down the wing by Alain Matingou. The Frenchman picked out Gibson who had an easy tap in to double the lead. Gibson then took matters into his own hands, beating his man on the dribble before firing a shot into the net. The final tally of the first quarter came in the final minute. After a foul in the Comets end, Missouri quickly moved the ball up field where it finally came to Josh Gardner. Again Gibson was unmarked at the back post, and again he was picked out and just had to redirect the ball into the net to put the Comets on top 4-0 after one quarter.
In the second quarter, the Comets didn't take so long to get things going. Less than a minute in, Brian Harris was the first one to react to a first to a loose ball near the yellow line. Harris fired a shot on goal that Aaron Anderson didn't see until late and before he could react it was past him to make it 5-0. Merely seconds later, Josh Gardner made it 6-0. Stefan Stokic led a counter, firing a shot off the wall.The rebound collected the rebound and put it away for his first of the day. Gibson returned the favor for the earlier goal to Matingou just before the four minute mark. He collected the ball near the yellow line and touched it into the middle for Matingou who hit a bullet with his toe to make it 7-0. A minute later, the Comets made it eight on the power play. After some good passing around with the man advantage, the ball got played in to Gibson in the box, Gibson turned and played the ball to Sosa in the corner who fired his shot over Anderson and into the net. It was nine before the half way point in the quarter as Gardner scored his second of the day after a layoff from Coady Andrews. Before the half, Vahid Assadpour got his first of the day off an assist from Gibson on a restart before Bryan Perez finished off the scoring with another power play goal and the Comets went into the half time break up 11-0, with Gibson being involved in eight of Missouri's 11 goals.
The third quarter again saw the Comets jump on the board early, this time with Andrews getting his fourth goal of the season after cutting across the top of the box. Thirteen seconds later though the Stars scored their loan goal of the night. After a shot by Vince McCluskey went wide, Evan Denmark followed the shot, missing with his first effort, but putting the second back into the net, cutting Missouri's lead to 12-1. The Comets though would earn the goal back in spectacular fashion before the half way point in the quarter. Off a quick restart the ball got played into the corner for John Sosa. Sosa tried to ship Tacoma's Chris Kintz, but the goalkeeper got a hand on it. The rebound though fell to Sosa who hit the shot on the bicycle, scoring to make it 13-1. Minutes later, Gardner finished off his hattrick to make it 14-1, where the quarter ended.
The fourth quarter, like the first, belonged to Gibson, who scored all three goals in the quarter for Missouri. Two of which came on power plays after cards to Michal Mravec. The first, less than three minutes in, saw the Comets completely dismantle the Stars around their own box with about five straight one touch passes that eventually found Gibson who had a simple shot for the goal. A minute later it was Gibson again. His initial shot was fired wide, but was recollected by Assadpour who played it back into the middle for Gibson to put home and make it 16-1. Near the midpoint of the quarter, Mravec and Gibson got into it a bit in the corner, Mravec ended up pushing Gibson and earning a blue card. Mravec argued the call with referee Ron Cory as Mravec made his way to the box. Mravec proceeded to grab Cory's hand and then appeared to be trying to show Cory what happened on the play. Mravec kicked out, presumably trying to show that he was getting kicked by Gibson. Mravec's kicks though hit their mark on the crew chief, and Cory immediately went to the red card, sending off the Stars player. On the ensuing five minute power play, the Comets killed much of the clock looking for goal 17. Late in the power play they finally got it as Gibson fired a shot from long range that made it into the net and made it 17-1.
With the eight goals and four assists on the day, Gibson extended his record for points in a season, finishing with 93 points, almost 30 more than second place Gordy Gurson. His eight goals gave him 48 for the season, enough to past Gurson for the most goals in a season, and he also finished with the most assists, 45. His 12 point performance on the day also set a league record for points in a single game. All fill Gibson's MVP credentials quite well as the forward should win the award this season.