The Tacoma Stars topped the Florida Tropics 4-3 to split their two-game MASL season series in front of 2,890 fans at the accesso ShoWare Center on Sunday.
The Kent-based Stars are 8-10. The Tropics drop to 16-3.
Much like the first match these teams played on Thursday – an 8-7 Tropics’ win in overtime – this was a close battle that came down to the final goal.
The Stars’ Nick Perera started the scoring on an assist from Lamar Neagle eight seconds into the second quarter on a power-play goal. Florida’s Rafa Alves was whistled for tripping late in the first quarter, and the Stars began the second quarter with 31 seconds of man-advantage time.
After Neagle was sent to the penalty box for a reckless tackle, Florida had its first opportunity on the power play, and the Tropics converted. Lucio Gonzaga found Guilherme Dos Santos for the marker with 7:59 to play in the first half, and the teams headed to the locker room tied 1-1.
Alex Caceres connected with Mike Ramos for a power-play goal to put Tacoma in front 2-1 at 12:51 of the third quarter.
The Tropics’ Victor Parreiras scored back-to-back goals on assists from Lucas Texeira and Zach Reget to make it a 3-2 Florida lead with 3:42 remaining in the quarter. Vince McCluskey found Caceres for the equalizing goal to send the match to the final 15 minutes tied 3-3.
Florida had a power-play opportunity when the Stars were sent short-handed on a blue card for too many men on the field. Tacoma’s penalty killers held the Tropics off the board, though Florida had a few good looks at goal. The Tropics eventually outshot the Stars 8-4 in the quarter and 18-17 in the game.
The final goal, which sealed the win for the Stars, came with 3:21 left in the match, came from Cory Keitz. His fourth goal of the season was assisted by Alessandro Canale. That set up Tacoma to face the Tropics short-handed as it pulled keeper Hugo Silva in favor of a sixth attacker. Stars keeper Danny Waltman made several key saves down the stretch to secure the win for Tacoma.
The Stars are on the road next week for a pair of games in California. First up is a battle in Ontario against the Fury on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. The team continues south to face the San Diego Sockers at 5:05 Sunday. All the action is live on MASL.tv.
The Stars and Sockers head to the ShoWare Center for the second of three consecutive matches between the teams on Friday, March 13 for Military Appreciation Night. Game time is 7:35 p.m. Order tickets at tacomastars.showare.com.
First quarter – none. Penalties – FLA, Alves blue card (tripping) 13:38.
Second quarter – TAC, Perera (Neagle) 0:08 PP; FLA, Dos Santos (Gonzaga) 7:01 PP. Penalties – TAC, Neagle blue card (reckless tackle) 5:54.
Third quarter – TAC, Ramos (Caceres) 2:09 PP; FLA, Parreiras (Reget) 8:16; FLA, Parreiras (Teixeira) 11:18; TAC, Caceres (McCluskey) 13:29. Penalties – FLA, Reget blue card (kicking) 1:10.
Fourth quarter – TAC, Keitz (Canale) 11:39. Penalties – TAC, blue card (too many men) 4:36.
Attendance – 2,890