The Tacoma Stars (2-4) had a pair of two-goal leads during the match but came up short 7-6 to the St. Louis Ambush (2-3) in front of 1,879 fans at The Family Arena on Dec. 27. Tacoma Stars rookie Eddie Na scored his first career MASL goal in the third quarter of the loss.
The Stars opened scoring on a set piece from the top of the arc following a defensive clearance called on St. Louis. Alex Caceres sent a soft pass just to his left and Nick Perera buried it to give Tacoma a 1-0 lead with 10:54 to go in the opening period. The Ambush knocked in the next two goals, first from St. Louis leading goal scorer Tony Walls with 9:08 to play followed by JT Thomas’ marker just 31 second later to make it a 2-1 Ambush lead. Following a scramble for a loose ball in front of Ambush keeper Paulo Nascimento, Alex Megson found Cory Keitz with a short pass leading to the equalizing goal with 1:06 on the clock.
After the Stars successfully killed an Ambush power play, the Stars made the most of their turn with a man advantage in the second quarter. St. Louis’ Andre Braithwaite was sent off for two minutes on a blue card for contact above the shoulder. In the final 30 second of the power play Mike Ramos sent a pass to his right across the top of the box and after Perera stepped in front of it and let it go through, Caceres sent a shot into the lower left corner of the goal to put Tacoma up 3-2 at halftime.
All scoring in the third quarter took place in the opening minute of play in the second half. Mike Ramos put the Stars up 4-2 just 27 seconds into the third. 18 second later the Ambush got the goal back on Vadim Cojocov’s first of the year to make it a 4-3 Tacoma lead heading into the final frame.
Braithwaite brought the Ambush level with the Stars at 4-4 on his first goal for St. Louis with 14:21 to go in the final quarter. Tacoma took the lead on Lamar Neagle’s first goal of the year with 11:24 remaining. Less than a minute later, Tacoma’s Na notched his first MASL goal when he converted on a long, Danny Waltman outlet pass to make it 6-4 Stars with 10:51 on the clock. The next goal was again less than a minute later but came off the foot of St. Louis’ Walls to cut the Tacoma lead in half at 6-5. After Keitz was sent off for charging bringing up the second Ambush power play of the game, St. Louis tied the match 6-6 on Thomas’ second score of the night. The game winner for the Ambush was knocked in by Mike Scharf on Pablo Da Silva’s third assist of the game with 4:36 left in the match.
The Stars are back in action tomorrow when they travel to Kansas City to face the Comets at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:05 pm PST.
1st – TAC Perera (Caceres) 4:06; STL Walls (St. Louis); STL Thomas (Dos Santos) 6:23; TAC Keitz (Megson) 13:54. Penalties– none.
2nd – TAC Caceres (Ramos) 12:09 PP. Penalties – TAC Deluna blue card (tripping) 6:38; STL Braithwaite blue card (contact above the shoulder) 10:22.
3rd – TAC Ramos 0:27; STL Cojocov (Carvalho) 0:45. Penalties – none.
4th – STL Braithwaite (Da Silva) 0:39; TAC Neagle (Perera) 3:36; TAC Na (Waltman) 4:09; STL Walls (Da Silva) 4:43; STL Thomas (Walls) 8:03 PP; STL Scharf (Da Silva) 10:24. Penalties – TAC Keitz blue card (charging) 6:33.
Attendance – 1,879
The Stars wrap up 2019 on Saturday in Kansas City against the Comets. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. and you can catch all the action on MASL.tv.
The Stars are on the road for the next two games before returning to the accesso ShoWare Center on Friday, Jan. 10, 2020 when they welcome Western Conference foe Turlock Cal Express to kick off the new year. Game time is 7:35 p.m. and you can get your tickets at tacomastars.showare.com.