by Pat Clifton

KANSAS CITY (March 7, 2020) The Kansas City Comets fell to the Rochester Lancers Saturday, 9-6, at the ROC Arena. The win is Rochester’s first on the season, improving the Lancers to 1-21. The loss drops the Comets to 9-11 with a Sunday bout against Utica looming.

Leo Gibson opened Kansas City’s account two minutes in thanks to a long run by rookie Nick McDonald. He beat a defender and outpaced two, going coast-to-coast before delivering the easy goal to his coach.

The Comets spent most of the early minutes on the attack but leaked a goal by being slow to get back on defense. Bryan Wolanski assisted Matt D’Amico to finish off a three-on-one, leaving Nicolau Neto exposed in goal and tying the game at 1-1 midway through the first quarter.

Kansas City regained the lead a minute later. Lucas Rodriguez teed off from deep, and his shot bounced to the feet of birthday boy Adam James, who bent his own shot past Marcelo Moreira. Again, Rochester erased the advantage in short order, this time Wolanski scoring unassisted, his first goal of the season.

The Comets opened scoring in the second quarter with a well-executed give-and-go between Nacho Flores and Leo Gibson. Flores did the scoring and Gibson the assisting, putting Kansas City ahead 3-2.

Rochester pulled even once more via a Doug Miller free kick. He nailed it from the penalty mark, beating the Comets wall and Nicolau Neto for the goal. The Lancers edged ahead when Gui Gomes had his pocket picked at the top of the Comet box, leaving Neto with no chance to save Tim Crawford’s wide open shot. The home side took a 4-3 lead into halftime.

Rochester extended the lead when the Comets were left shorthanded after a feverish back-and-forth series. Neto had managed to stymie several forays where he was severely undermanned, but the levy broke when Andriy Demydiv finished a three-on-two and Jeremy Ortiz capped off a two-on-one to give the Lancers a 6-3 lead.

The Comets managed to get one back before the end of the third quarter. With his back to the wall, Gibson fed Gomes, who had his back to the goal. He spun at the top of the arc and shot, falling down, to cut the deficit to two going into the final period.

Rochester re-extended the lead when the ageless Miller rocketed one from the top of the arc while being tripped by Gibson. It was perfectly placed outside the reach of Neto. Then the retiring Gary Boughton scored in his final home game, giving the Lancers the 8-4 lead with just over 10 minutes to play.

Rochester extended that lead again when Ortiz chipped Rodriguez from midfield before Gibson was shows back-to-back yellow cards, resulting in a red card and ejection.

The Comets got three back with Lucas Rodriguez in as sixth attacker. Gomes scored the first one off a turnover, Sosa the second off a poorly played ball to the middle of the box by Moreira, and Berto from point-blank distance for the third. The flurry was too little, too late.