After a tightly contested first three quarters, the Milwaukee Wave pulled away to leave town victorious yet again at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena. The visitors opened the scoring through Luan Oliveira in the first quarter, but Leo Gibson equalized for the Comets in the second quarter before Alex Bradley responded less than a minute later to end the first half with a 2-1 advantage for the Wave. Ian Bennett and Stefan Stokic exchanged goals at the start of the half, and then Milwaukee pulled away in the final quarter with another couple of goals to get Bradley a hat trick before Bennett bagged his second of the night. Gibson scored to make it 6-3, but the Wave answered with another goal from Bennett, who recorded his eighth career hat trick against the Comets, and Isaac Pereyra scored the final goal inside the last minute of play to make it 8-3.
Here are four findings from Saturday’s game:
- Unfair Scoreline
The final scoreline of 8-3 would not tell the entire story of Saturday evening’s game. The game was tight for the first 50 minutes, but then tired legs took their toll on a team chasing the game. By the time the fourth quarter had arrived, Kansas City was without six players that would normally be in the rotation.
The first 50 minutes of that game should give the Comets fans hope for the future. Some valuable experience was gained for Hector Solorio, while Kevin Ellis returned to the turf for the first time this season. The Comets will look to get a couple players back from injury ahead of their battle with the Orlando SeaWoves this Friday.
- Goalkeeper Situation
Although Lou Misner has proven himself to be a great shot-stopper, he still cannot lead this team through a playoff run. After a couple of games to get used to the MASL, he has done very well, but he still misses the distribution qualities needed to be a steady goalkeeper in the league.
The rumored ‘first choice’ goalkeeper is Nicolau Neto, who still awaits his visa approval along with veteran forward Ramone Palmer and new signing Lucas Sousa. It would take several games for Neto to adjust to the speed of play in the MASL, but he is potentially someone who can become a big player for the organization in the future, as well as any time he might get his season. Mark Saxby, who was still battling an injury and a sickness earlier in the week, would still bring more experience and stable distribution.
- Playoff Thoughts
Kansas City currently sit in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, which means they have their work cut out for them to make the cut for the 2020 Ron Newman Cup Playoffs, in which the top four teams from each conference qualify. With four games remaining in January, two of them against the Wave, the Comets will need to win at least one or two of the four remaining games against Milwaukee this season.
The Comets can’t afford to drop games against MASL’s lesser teams who they play multiple times each, such as: St. Louis, Rochester, and Orlando. Kansas City will also need to pickup some other wins along the way against Milwaukee, Ontario, Florida, Harrisburg, and Utica.
After the Comets attendance plummeted last season to 1,988 and even less for their midweek playoff game, this season’s attendance stats have skyrocketed to an average of 4,235 after hosting three games this season. The Comets are second in the league in average attendance, behind only the Wave.
The team has taken full advantage of the larger crowds at home, as all three games have seen promising performances from the team with two wins and the recent loss. If the fans continue to come, the home results will continue to come. The next step for the Comets is performing well on the road, which has been very difficult for them with a 1-4 record away from home.