For the Reporter
The Tacoma Stars kept their MASL playoff hopes alive, beating the Ontario Fury 8-6 in front of 3,085 fans at the accesso ShoWare Center on Friday night.
Jamael Cox’s hat trick powered the Stars.
Tacoma and Ontario each have 10-11 records, with the head-to-head regular-season tiebreaker belonging to the Stars at 3-1. A win in Tacoma’s final game – against the Kansas City Comets at home next Friday – will clinch the second Pacific Division playoff spot.
Defenses were on display in the first quarter in which the Stars’ Joey Gjersten provided the only goal, his eighth of the season, with 9:16 left on the clock.
The second quarter belonged to Tacoma, which got back-to-back goals by Nick Perera to build a 3-0 with 10:03 left in the first half. Ontario put up its first marker of the match when Adrian Perez scored just over two minutes later. Cox scored his first goal of the match to close out scoring in the half and put the Stars up 4-1.
Juan Gonzalez cut the Tacoma lead to 4-2 with his seventh goal of the season just 39 seconds into the second half. Cox and Cory Keitz each scored for the Stars in the third quarter to put the them on top 6-2, heading into the final quarter.
Ontario notched fourth-quarter goals – two from Francisco Cordeiro and one each from Ouday Belhadj and Maicon de Abreu – to make the game close. Cox netted his third of the game, and Raphael Cox pounded home the final goal for Tacoma.
The Stars-Comets match is Fan Appreciation Night.
For tickets call 1-800-STARS-84 or go to tacomastars.com.