by Pat Clifton

ST. LOUIS, MO (Dec. 15, 2019) -  The Kansas City Comets fell in sudden death overtime for the second time this season, with JT Thomas scoring the game-winner six minutes past regulation to give the St. Louis Ambush an 8-7 win, their first of the season. The Comets never led. The loss drops them to 1-2, both defeats coming on the road. The win lifts the Ambush to 1-3, leveling the I-70 Series at 1-1 this season.

It took a power play in the fifth minute to put the first points on the board. The Comets were shown blue for having too many men on the field. Robert Kelly served the time, and Tony Walls scored an easy goal with an assist from Eduardo Mota De Carvalho to put the Ambush up 1-0.

Two minutes later, Kiel Williams broke the ice for the Comets. Hustle from John Sosa turned the Ambush over deep in their own end. Sosa then connected with Gibson, who found Williams streaking through the center of the field. Williams’ shot ricocheted off an Ambush foot and into the back of the net.

Mota De Carvalho picked up his second assist, feeding Pepe for a tap-in right in front of the net. Seconds later, Qudus Lawal snuck one past Steven Hamersky with no defender in front of him, scoring his first career goal in the MASL.

The floodgates remained open for Wall’s second goal of the night. It came off an over-the-shoulder assist from St. Louis goalkeeper Paulo Nascimento, and Wall headed the ball over the fingertips of Hamersky en route to the back of the net. The onslaught gave the Ambush a 4-1 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Ambush picked up a blue card at the onset of the second half, giving the Comets the break they needed to stop the skid. They played for methodical possession during the power play, with Lucas Rodriguez eventually one-touching the ball into the back of the net during a run through the middle of the field. Sosa delivered the assist.

Seconds later, Gibson scored the next goal for Kansas City, rocketing a shot from a step inside the yellow line to beat Nascimento on the short side. The consecutive scores cut the deficit to 4-3 with 11 minutes to play in the second quarter.

Douglas Dos Santos then picked up a blue card for an illegal takedown of Gibson. However, a flurry of Kansas City penalties helped St. Louis milk the power play without conceding a goal. Too many men on the field put the Ambush down a man for another two minutes almost immediately. They got through that power play unscathed, as well, allowing the Ambush to take a 4-3 lead into halftime.

The Comets finally drew level off a beautiful team goal scored by Gibson. Hamersky threw a field-long pass to Williams, who headed it to Gibson, who fired the ball into the net with one touch.

St. Louis made it two-for-four on power plays, as Junquiera scored from the top of the key while Kansas City was down a man, retaking the lead for the Ambush. Just before the end of the third quarter, Jonathan Pachar gave the home team some cushion, hammering a shot past Hamersky off one touch to secure a 6-4 lead.

Two-and-a-half minutes into the final quarter, Gibson scored his hat-trick. Sosa chucked a ball into the attacking end, and Gibson shot it off the bounce with his back to the goal, catching Nascimento unprepared. The score brought Kansas City to within one.

The Ambush then scored a wild goal to re-extend the lead. Matt Lewis headed a ball off the boards straight into the air in front of the goal. Hamersky missed his play at it, and Wall tapped it in from point-blank range. Seconds later, Gui Gomes scored off a bounce pass from Nacho Flores, drawing Kansas City within one with just over 11 minutes to play.

Hamersky then got to play some offense, beating two Ambush attackers to give the Comets numbers in the attacking end. Kansas City executed some precise passing in the box, ending with Sosa assisting Ray Saari right in front of the net to tie the game at 7-7 with five minutes to play. Despite some late-game drama, with the lights going out just as the Ambush rocketed a shot at Hamersky, regulation ended in a stalemate.

It took six minutes of sudden death overtime, both teams threatening to end it, before JT Thomas scored off a set piece play, burying the game winner. Up next for the Comets is a road trip through Texas, where they’ll play the Dallas Sidekicks and expansion Mesquite Outlaws before returning home to host Danny Waltman and the Tacoma Stars.