by Pete Richmire

LAKELAND, FL. – The Kansas City Comets (1-2) and Florida Tropics (4-0) clashed for the second time this weekend and this game was not nearly as close as Friday’s. In a game that featured three blue cards, five yellow cards, and a red card, the Tropics cruised to a 7-4 victory, their fourth straight to open the 2021 season.

The opening frame was relatively quiet compared to the rest of the game. Florida had the only goal and penalty of the first 15 minutes of play. Anthony Arico opened scoring giving Florida a 1-0 lead with 6:52 to play in the first. Drew Ruggles was issued a blue card less than a minute later, but the Tropics held Kansas City’s power play unit scoreless for the entire match.

The second quarter started with a bang as Joey Tavernese picked his first goal of the season for Florida just 10 seconds into the quarter. Off a set piece, Kansas City’s John Sosa slid a pass to Ramone Palmer, who one-timed a shot to the back of the net with 8:18 to play in the first having cutting Florida’s lead in half at 2-1. That was as close as the Comets would come the rest of the afternoon.

Just over a minute after Palmer’s goal, Guilherme Dos Santos struck for the Tropics, on Ruggles’ second assist of the half and Florida was up 3-1. Following a quiet few minutes of play, the penalty fest began with 3:20 left in the second. Kansas City’s Mirko Sandivari, along with Florida’s Ruggles and Arico were all sent to the penalty box on yellow cards for dissent. They were joined with 59 seconds to go when Comets’ goal-scorer Palmer was given a blue card for kicking, followed by a yellow card for dissent, setting the Tropics up for their first power play of the game.

Leo Gibson, the player-head coach for the Comets was next to see a foul card in the second quarter, though his was red and the afternoon was over for Gibson. On a 5-on-3 power play, the Tropics converted on Ian Bennett’s seventh goal of the season, sending the teams to the locker room with Florida holding a three-goal lead at 4-1.

Each team scored in the third quarter beginning with Kansas City’s Rian Marques, who used a nifty move on a one-on-one situation going to his left to beat Florida goalkeeper Hugo Silva making the score 4-2 Florida with 8:50 to go in the third. The Tropics goal came with 19 seconds to play in the quarter when Victor Parreiras connected with Ruggles and it was a 5-2 Florida advantage headed to the final quarter.  

Back-to-back Tropics goals from Parreiras and Arico pushed that Florida lead to 7-2 with 8:46 left in the game. Matt Lewis and Sosa each scored for Kansas City in the final two minutes to reach the 7-4 final.

The Comets are on the road next week in St. Louis to face the Ambush on Saturday before returning to able Dahmer Arena to welcome the Tacoma Stars on January 22. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster or by calling (888) 9-COMETS.


1st – FLA Arico (Teixeira) 8:08. Penalties – FLA Ruggles blue card (tripping) 8:57.

2nd – FLA Tavernese (Ruggles) 0:10; KC Palmer (Sosa) 6:42; FLA Dos Santos (Ruggles) 7:51; FLA Bennett (Teixeira) 14:30 PP. Penalties – KC Sandivari yellow card (dissent) 11:40; FLA Ruggles yellow card (dissent) 11:40; FLA Arico yellow card (dissent) 11:40; KC Palmer blue card (kicking) 14:01; KC Palmer yellow card (dissent) 14:01; KC Gibson red card (foul abusive language) 14:12.

3rd – KC Marques 6:10; FLA Ruggles (Parreiras) 14:41. Penalties – none.

4th – FLA Bennett (Arico) 5:02; FLA Arico (Bennett) 6:14; KC Lewis (Sousa) 13:53; KC Sosa (James) 14:49. Penalties – KC Lewis yellow card (dissent) 6:14; FLA Deroux blue card (kicking).

Shots – Kansas City 9-5-7-4 (25); Florida 4-9-2-3 (18)