The Stars (8-10) and Florida Tropics (16-3) wrapped up their season series Sunday in front of 2,890 fans at the accesso ShoWare Center with a 4-3 Tacoma win to split with one win apiece.
Much like the first match these teams played on Thursday, this was a close battle that came down to the final goal. They fought a defensive battle during the first quartering which they combined for seven shots and wound up scoreless heading to the second quarter.
Nick Perera started scoring in the game on an assist from Lamar Neagle to give Tacoma the 1-0 lead just eight seconds into the second frame 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 their first opportunity on the power play, and they 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.
The third frame was quicker paced, and it was another power play goal for the Stars that got the second half started. Alex Caceres connected with Mike Ramos for the goal to put Tacoma in front 2-1 with 12:51 on the clock in the third. The next two goals belonged to the Tropics and resulted in their only lead of the game. 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. They eventually out shot 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 and that set up Tacoma to face the Tropics short handed as they 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.
1st – none. Penalties – FLA Alves blue card (tripping) 13:38.
2nd – TAC Perera (Neagle) 0:08 PP; FLA Dos Santos (Gonzaga) 7:01 PP. Penalties – TAC Neagle blue card (reckless tackle) 5:54.
3rd – 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.
4th – TAC Keitz (Canale) 11:39. Penalties – TAC blue card (too many men) 4:36.
Attendance – 2,890
The Stars are on the road for a pair of games in California. First up is a battle in Ontario against the Fury on Saturday, March 7 at 7:05 p.m. The team continues south to face San Diego at 5:05 p.m. on Sunday, March 8. You can catch all the action live on MASL.tv.
The Stars and Sockers head to the accesso 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. and you can get your tickets at tacomastars.showare.com.