Six unanswered fourth-quarter points helped the Missouri Comets rally from a three-goal halftime deficit to claim a stirring 10-7 victory over arch-rival Wichita on Wednesday night at the Independence Events Center.
Six unanswered fourth-quarter points helped the Missouri Comets rally from a three-goal halftime deficit to claim a stirring 10-7 victory over arch-rival Wichita on Wednesday night at the Independence Events Center.Comets goalkeeper Danny Waltman was brilliant in the net, stopping 19 of 22 shots, defender Ryan Junge made three heart-stopping saves in support of Waltman to keep the game close in the first half, and reigning league MVP Byron Alvarez had five points on two power play goals and an assist on what proved to be Vahid Assadpour’s game-winner at the 10:41 mark of the fourth quarter.“We didn’t panic when it was 5-2 at the half,” Comets coach Kim Roentved said, after his team ended a two-game losing streak and improved to 3-1 against the Wings and 8-4 on the season.“The boys weren’t playing that bad, we just couldn’t get the ball past (their goalkeeper) Sanaldo, who had a tremendous game. We kept our cool, we kept attacking and I think we had them back on their heels the second half – especially the fourth quarter.”Alvarez scored the first two Comet goals, both on power plays, Geison scored just 45 seconds into the fourth quarter to make it 7-6, and Assadpour took a perfect feed from Alvarez and fired the ball between Sanaldo’s outstretched arms to give the Comets an 8-7 lead.Tiguinho scored against a sixth attacker with just 1:06 left in the game to account for the final score.“There is a lot of soccer left to be played this season,” Alvarez said, “but to me, and the team, this was a must win. We only have two games at home in December and with the enthusiastic crowd we had tonight, we had to win.“When it was 5-2 at the half, we were very confident in the locker room. We knew we could come out and put some points on the scoreboard in the second half, and we were able to do it.”Alvarez said Geison’s goal seconds into the fourth period gave the Comets all the momentum they needed.“You could feel the momentum swing our way after that goal,” Alvarez said. “When we came out of the locker room and saw it full of fans, it just made us want to play that much harder.“It took a while for the offense to get going, but once it did, they couldn’t stop us.”Assadpour said the crowd of 4,583 energized the Comets from the opening whistle.“I think we might have been trying too hard the first half, and Sanaldo was very good in the net,” Assadpour said, “but we are a strong second-half team. Once Geison scored to make it a one-goal game, we knew we would come back and win.“I was just lucky enough to get the goal. And it felt very good.”Waltman, who looked like he had been through a battle with several cuts on his face and a bag of ice on an injured right ankle, gave credit to his teammates for the victory.“Does it get any better than this?” he asked, as he limped his way back to field for a postgame autograph session. “This was a huge win in front of a huge crowd. I mean, this is the type of electric win that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up.“In every huddle, even when we were down 5-2, the guys were like, ‘Come on, let’s go, we can get ’em.’ And we did.”“It was a total team win. Everyone contributed tonight, especially the fans. They kept us fired up the entire game.”