by Pete Richmire

LAKELAND, FL. – The Comets (3-3-0) and the Florida Tropics (4-1-0) met at the RP Funding Center to see which team would advance to the 2022 Ron Newman Cup Finals. With the Comets leading the series 1-0, Florida needed to win Game Two to force a 15-minute Extra-Time to advance and they did just that. Florida topped the Comets by a 4-2 final in both Game Two and Extra-Time to advance and end Kansas City’s season.

True to playoff form so far, the Comets and their opponent played a low-scoring first half with the teams combining for just three goals through the first 30 minutes. Florida picked up the first two in the opening frame. Victor Parreiras and Drew Ruggles each scored for Florida and the Tropics took a 2-0 lead into the second quarter.

The lone goal of the second quarter came less than 90 seconds into the period. The Comets executed a quick restart near midfield and slid a pass to Milos Vucic, who was low in the left corner. Once he had possession, Vucic beat Florida keeper Rainer Hauss with a low shot to the opposite post to cut the Tropics’ lead in half at 2-1.

Each team had power-play opportunities in the first half though neither could capitalize. The Tropics were shown a blue card for too many men on the field and their defense killed the penalty to run the Comets’ streak to four power-play chances without a goal this post-season.

Florida got their chance with the man advantage when Nacho Flores was whistled for dangerous play with 3:13 left in the half. With Flores still in the penalty box, James Togbah picked up a blue card for tripping, giving Florida a 5-on-3 power-play. The Comets killed the first penalty and kept the Tropics off the board as time expired in the half. Florida had 10 seconds left on the 5-on-4 advantage to open the third quarter.

The second half of Game Two also saw three combined goals, with two going to the Tropics. Ricardo Carvalho scored the only goal of the third quarter to give the Tropics a 3-1 lead headed to the final quarter. Breno Oliveira scored on an assist from Zach Reget to put Florida up 4-1 with 10:16 remaining.

John Sosa knocked in the final goal of the game from just inside the yellow line with 4:20 on the clock to reach the 4-2 final. Sosa had an opportunity on a shoot-out with 10 seconds left, but Hauss came off his line to cut down the angle and was able to turn Sosa’s shot away. With Florida winning game two, the teams took a 15-minute break to prepare for the Extra-Time period.

Florida came out quickly in the Extra-Time with Ricardo Diegues scoring 35 seconds into the quarter. A goal by Parreiras gave the Tropics a quick 2-0 lead with 11:52 left in the quarter.

Nick McDonald fired a pass off the end-boards and Marques won a battle for the ball and tapped it in for a goal to cut the Tropics’ lead in half at 2-1 with 11:05 on the clock.

Diegues notched his second goal of the Extra-Time with 10:15 left to give Florida their two-goal lead back at 3-1. That goal proved to be the game-winner for Florida.

Leo Gibson connected with Marques, who drove the ball low past Hauss at the far post to record the final goal of the night for Kansas City. For Marques, it was his second goal of the Extra-Time period.

An empty-net goal by Anthony Arico with just as time expired pushed the score to 4-2 in favor of Florida.

The Tropics advance to the Ron Newman Cup Finals and will find out whether they will face the San Diego Sockers or Chihuahua Savage tomorrow as those teams complete their Semifinal series at Pechanga Arena San Diego.


1st – FLA Parreiras (Carvalho) 6:07; FLA Ruggles (Arico) 10:15. Penalties – None.

2nd – KC Vucic 1:27. Penalties – FLA (bc- too many men) 4:46; KC Flores (bc- dangerous play) 11:47; KC Togbah (bc- tripping) 13:09.

3rd – FLA Carvalho (Arico) 12:03. Penalties – None.

4th – FLA Oliveira (Reget); KC Sosa 10:40. Penalties – KC Marques (bc- contact above the shoulder/elbow) 12:38; KC Marques (yc- major penal penalty) 12:38; FLA Navarrete (bc- goalkeeper handball outside the box) 14:50.

Power Play – Comets 0/2, Florida 0/3

Penalty Minutes – Comets 11, Florida 2

Shots – Comets 30, Florida 14

15-minute Extra-Time

1stFLA Diegues (Hauss) 0:35; FLA Parreiras (Reget) 3:08; KC Marques (McDonald) 11:05; FLA Diegues 4:45; KC Marques (Gibson) 12:42; FLA Arico (Williams) 14:59. Penalties – KC Sosa (bc- holding) 13:51.

Power Play – Comets 0/0, Florida 0/1

Penalty Minutes – Comets 2, Florida 0

Shots – Comets 10, Florida 8

Attendance – 1,734