On this birthday, Kansas City Comets forward Ramone Palmer threw himself a birthday party in Lakeland, Florida leading the Comets to a 7-6 win on the road, the Comets sixth straight win and eighth in their last nine scoring a goal and adding four assists for the Comets in the win over the Floirda Tropics. Palmer's outstanding performance was needed for the Comets who were without their leading scorer, Leo Gibson, who was suspended for card accumulation for the game leaving a hole in the Comets offense.
It didn't take long for Palmer to start to fill that hole as less than five minutes in he played a ball off the wall to the top of the box where Alain Matingou blasted the ball past familiar face, Marcel Feenstra who used to play for the Milwaukee Wave. The goal set off a frenzy of a first period that saw six goals scored between the two sides. The Tropics tied the game up before the mid-point of the period on a goal by Victor Rojas off a restart. The Comets came right back though retaking the lead less than a minute later as Bryan Perez picked out Odaine Sinclair completely unmarked on the back post on a restart and he just tapped the ball in. The Tropics tied the game again less than a minute after Sinclair put the Comets up and then with less than a minute left in the quarter took the lead 3-2 through Jowayne Laidley. The Comets though finished out the quarter level though thanks to a goal off a restart in the final 15 seconds as John Sosa picked out Lucas Rodriguez on the post and Rodriguez headed the ball in to end the quarter at 3-3.
The second quarter took a little longer to get going than the first but there was still a lot of scoring late as three goals in the final five minutes punctuated the second quarter. The Tropics scored a pair of goals by Marco Rodriguez and Victor Parreiras to put the Tropics 5-3. The Comets though pulled one back before the end of the half on the power play as a miss-hit shot by Ramone Palmer went right to Perez at the back post who knocked the ball home to make it 5-4 to the Tropics as the teams headed into half time.
The third quarter saw similar to the second taking a while for either team to get going offensively, but late on it was the Comets taking advantage as Palmer continued his good day, first with less than four minutes left beat a double team in the corner before laying a ball into the middle for Vahid Assadpour who scored to tie the game at 5-5. About a minute later the Comets were back in front as Palmer again beat his man in the corner and laid a pass off into the middle, this time it was Perez who was the recipient, who fired the shot high over Feenstra and in to make it 6-5 to the Comets heading into the final quarter.
The fourth quarter saw the Tropics push the game trying to get an equalizer but the Comets defense held up keeping Florida off the board. The Tropics were unable to take advantages of the chances they did get though, including one where Laidley stole the ball off Stephen Paterson's foot outside the box, but with an open goal, Laidley fired it over the bar. The Comets almost immediately came back down the field from that miss and Perez played a pass off the boards right to Palmer in the middle of the box who had an open goal after Feenstra committed to Perez. The birthday boy made no mistake making it 7-5 to the Comets. Things got tight with just over four minutes left as the Tropics scored with a sixth attacker as Anthony Arico scored to make it 7-6. The Comets defense held off the Tropics absorbing their high pressure and in the final few seconds had a break with only sixth attacker Parreiras back. Parreiras picked up a blue card for charging on the break giving the Comets a shootout attempt along with the power play. Assadpour had his shootout attempt saved by Feenstra, but was able to hold the ball in the Tropics defensive end for the final minutes to clinch the win.
Here are some stats from last night's game:
Bryan Perez had two goals and an assist (should be a second assist for Sinclair's goal) giving him 100 points (goals and assists) for his league career with the Comets.
His three point night allowed Perez to move past Brian Harris and into sixth place for total assists in all competitions with the Comets finishing the game with 46. It also tied him with Harris for assists in league play at 42.
Lucas Rodriguez's goal was his 74th in all competitions for the Comets, tying him with Brian Harris for fourth all time on that list.