by Pat Clifton

KANSAS CITY (Jan. 4, 2020) – The Kansas City Comets fell to the first-place Milwaukee Wave 8-3 Saturday at the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena. The home team kept in lockstep with the Wave through the third quarter, but Milwaukee pulled away late thanks in large part to a three-goal performance by Alex Bradley.

The loss is Kansas City’s first at home this season, dropping the Comets to 3-5. The win keeps Milwaukee undefeated on the road, improving the Wave’s record to 6-1.

A self-inflicted wound put the Comets down six minutes into the game, when too many men on the field resulted in a power play for the Wave. Luan Oliveira found a gap in the Kansas City defense and hit paydirt on the far post to score the opening goal.

The Comets had some opportunities in the first quarter, including Leo Gibson playing the ball off the ground and punting it directly into the face of Milwaukee keeper Rafael Dias. But they wouldn’t get on the board until the second minute of the second quarter, when Dias failed to clear his lines, giving Gibson a one-on-none, which he converted to tie the game at 1-1.

Milwaukee got the goal right back on its next possession. Three shots bounced off the boards immediately surrounding the net before Alex Bradley was able to score to lift the Wave to 2-1.

Play heated up as the half wound down, with a scuffle in the corner garnering no cards, but the Comets picked up two yellow cards, and a blue one to boot, in the second quarter. Kevin Ellis was shown yellow for dissent, as he vehemently disagreed with a call, as was the Comets bench on the same play. With 17 seconds left in the half, Nacho Flores was sent off for two minutes for making contact above the shoulders, giving Milwaukee its second power play of the game straddling halftime.

The Wave patiently moved the ball around up a man to start the second half, and with the power play winding down, Angel Curiel beat Lou Misner far post for a goal. Seconds later, Robert Palmer assisted Stefan Stokic, who had snuck behind the Milwaukee defense, netting his first score of the season. Two-and-a-half minutes into the second half, the Comets trailed 3-2.

The next 15 minutes were a defensive tussle. The Comets squeezed off more shots, but Milwaukee drew blood next with back-to-back goals. First it was Bradley with a clear shot behind the Kansas City defense. Seconds later it was Bradley again for the hat-trick, as he beat Misner off the dribble, putting the Wave up 5-2 with nine minutes to play.

With Matt Lewis in as sixth attacker, the Wave extended their lead just past the midway point of the fourth quarter. Gibson got one back, unassisted, cutting the deficit to three with under three minutes to play. Milwaukee would score on an empty net and on a retreating Lewis in the final minute, securing the 8-3 win.

The Comets are back in action Friday, as they host the Orlando Seawolves (1-5) at the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena.