The St. Louis Ambush dropped an 8-5 matinee match to the Kansas City Comets on New Year’s Eve, Saturday, December 31 at the Family Arena.
The visitors got on the board first when Ignacio Flores took a pass from Alain Matingou and shot it over the head of Ambush goalkeeper Nikola Marojevic at 2:51of the first quarter. The Comets went up by two when Leo Gibson fired a shot over Marojevic at 6:20. Gibson earned an assist when he passed to Vahid Assadpour on a restart and Assadpour scored at 13:48. The first quarter concluded with the Comets leading 3-0.
Kansas City wasted no time increasing their lead in the second quarter as Ramone Palmer scored just 49 seconds into the period. The Comets would increase their lead to 5-0 minutes later (3:26) on Brian Harris’ goal. St. Louis finally got on the board at 5:26 of the second period when Richard Schmermund took a pass from Daniel Berko and shot it into the corner of the goal to make the score 5-1. Mitch Garcia moved the Ambush closer with his unassisted tally at 13:28. With no further scoring, the first half expired with the Comets enjoying a 5-2 advantage.
Kansas City struck like lightning at the start of the second half when Leo Gibson scored off a pass from Brian Harris just 11 seconds into the third quarter to give the visitors a 6-2 lead. The Ambush answered at 2:1 when Greg Kranz took a pass from Daniel Berko and fired it by goalkeeper Stephen Paterson to make the score 6-3. The Ambush were awarded a shootout following a Comets tripping penalty, which Richard Schmermund made good on with his second goal of the game at 7:18. Things got chippy with a lot of physical play and multiple fouls. At one point, Kansas City had three players in the penalty box and St. Louis had one. The third quarter elapsed with the score 6-4 in favor of the Comets.
At 6:23 of the final stanza, Vadim Cojocov incurred a two-minute penalty for charging Comets goalkeeper Paterson and it would prove to be costly. Just seconds later (6:40) Lucas Rodriguez made good on the power play to give Kansas City a 7-4 lead. The Ambush responded by putting the sixth attacker jersey on Lucas Almeida. The Comets responded by promptly scoring again when Guerrero Pino scored an empty-netter at 8:06 to put Kansas City up 8-4. The Ambush were down but not out as Mitch Garcia scored his second of the contest on a restart at 13:35. The comeback wasn’t enough as the time clock struck zero with the Comets nailing down the 8-5 win.
For Kansas City, the victory improved their record to 6-4, while the Ambush dropped to 1-8. It’s too much of the same thing for Head Coach Tony Glavin. “My feeling is we lost this game in the first quarter. You can’t play against a team as good as Kansas City and go down by three in the first quarter. We improved, but it’s still not good enough. We’re starting too many games this way and it’s got to change.”
Ambush defender Mitch Garcia scored two goals in Saturday’s match. “It always feels good to score,” Garcia said, “but it feels better for the team to win. We’re slowly putting the pieces together but we haven’t solved the whole puzzle yet.” Team Captain Chris Mattingly said, “We have a young team and a lack of experience. We play good for three quarters but not the whole game. The team and the coaching staff have a plan in place and goals for the rest of the season to get us through these growing pains.”
Next up for the Ambush is three consecutive road games. They travel to Milwaukee on Saturday, January 7 when they battle the Wave at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena at 1:05 p.m. The next weekend, the Ambush head south to Florida for two games against the Tropics, on Friday, January 13 at 6:35 p.m. and on Sunday, January 15 at 4:35 p.m.
Fans can catch all Ambush games this season live on the MASLtv YouTube channel. The Ambush return home to the Family Arena when they host the Harrisburg Heat on Friday, January 20 at 7:35 p.m.