COMETS vs AMBUSH SERIES PREVIEW
On the eve of the Comets’ opening game of the 2021 Ron Newman Cup Playoffs, it’s time to look at the first-round series awaiting Kansas City. By securing the number three playoff seed at the conclusion of the regular season, the Comets had the opportunity to select their first-round opponent.
With the Florida Tropics receiving a bye, and the number two seed Ontario Fury selecting Dallas, the Comets had the choice of St. Louis, San Diego, and Tacoma. Kansas City selected their in-state rival St. Louis Ambush, and though the teams have rich histories of playoff meetings, this will be their first MASL post-season meeting.
Kansas City and St. Louis met twice during the 2021 regular season, splitting the season series with each team winning at home. Given the close, hard fought series, Comets’ owner Brian Budzinski is looking forward to two games in front of fans, family, and friends at both arenas. “St. Louis is a very formidable opponent. Looking forward to the players from both teams getting to play in front of their family & friends here in KC & St. Louis” he said.
The teams last played on February 12 at Cable Dahmer Arena with the Comets coming out on top by a 9-5 final. Adam James had the best performance by any player on either team in both games that night, as he found the back of the net four times in the win, including the game-winner with 7:50 left in the 3rd quarter. In addition to James, Matt Lewis, Ray Lee, Kyle McLagan, and Rian Marques also had multiple point performances on their home pitch.
The Ambush came within two goals halfway through the final quarter but never led during the game. William Eskay with two goals, and JT Thomas with a goal and assist were the only St. Louis players to register more than one point in the loss.
The first meeting of the season took place January 16 at The Family Arena and finished with the Ambush coming from behind for a 7-6 win. Despite the outcome, the Comets were certainly in a position to win the contest. Early in the 3rd quarter, Kansas City held a 6-3 lead, but St. Louis rattled off four straight goal, including the game-winner with 1:19 to go in the 4th.
For the Comets, Mirko Sandivari and Rian Marques topped scorers on the team with three and two points, respectively. Six different Ambush players tallied a goal with defender Vadim Cojocov netting two.
Despite quiet performances against St. Louis, the Comets are led in scoring by Leo Gibson (8G-12A) and Lucas Sousa (9G-8A). Cojocov (9G-4A) sets the pace offensively for the Ambush, with Tony Walls (9G-3A) and Lucas Almeida (3G-9A) close behind.
The series will feature goalkeepers on both sides who have had great regular season numbers. The Ambush bring Paulo Nascimento with a 7-4 record, 5.23 GAA, and .706 save percentage. He also has a goal and two assists for his squad. Three goalkeepers have logged time for Kansas City though they are led by Nicolau Neto and his 5-3 mark, 5.74 GAA, and .706 save percentage. Of all categories of comparison statistically, goalkeeping is where Kansas City and St. Louis match up most evenly which should make for a great series.
Game 1 kicks off tomorrow at 7:05 pm CT at Cable Dahmer Arena, before the series shifts to The Family Arena on Sunday with a 3:05 pm CT start time. Tickets are available for both games through Ticketmaster and fans who are unable to attend in person can watch live at https://www.facebook.com/MASLsoccer/events.