by Pat Clifton

KANSAS CITY (Feb. 23, 2020) – The Kansas City Comets fell to the Ontario Fury Sunday, 11-8, at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena. The Comets scored first and kept pace with the Fury early, but a five-goal run stretched through the second quarter and dug the home team too big a hole.

The result drops the Comets to 8-9 on the season, which sees them stay in sixth place in the East. It lifts Ontario to 10-8, good for third place in the West.

The Comets opened Sunday’s account just a minute into the game, when a shot blocked by Stefan Stokic bounced perfectly into the stride of Adam James, who executed the one-on-none. 90 seconds later, Juan Carlos Gonzalez found some space outside Mirko Sandivari to fire a shot off the inside of the post and into the back of the net.  

Kansas City regained the lead in the fifth minute. Stefan Stokic lost possession in the attacking end, Kevin Ellis stole it back and fed Odaine Sinclair for the score, putting the home team in front again.

Ontario immediately responded when Nestor Hernandez finished off a two-on-one with the assist from Juan Topete. Miscommunication from the Comets led to Ontario taking the lead shortly thereafter, when a shot bounced above the goal awkwardly between Nicolau Neto and Robert Palmer, neither played it, and the Fury capitalized.

The Comets survived a power play after Neto was penalized for a dangerous tackle well outside the box. But the Fury would be next on the board, even with Kansas City at full strength. Uzi Tayou posted up at the top of the box and fed Topete for a clear shot at goal. Topete assisted Jiho Lee on the next one to continue the scoring streak that would see the Fury close out the first quarter up 5-2.

The Ontario onslaught continued in the second quarter, with a flurry of Fury shots on goal. Penetration came when goalie Chris Toth laid an over-the-shoulder pass perfectly in front Franck, setting up the league’s leading scorer for his first goal of the game. 43 seconds later, Gonzales added his second score of the night, putting the Fury up 7-2.

Momentum shifted when Neto collided with Uzi at midfield, winning the point of contact. The crash got the crowd to its feet and energized the Comets. They peppered the wall around the goal without success until Gibson was tripped in the box at the end of the half, prompting a blue card and a penalty shootout. He buried the shot, cutting the Ontario lead to four before halftime.

Gonzalez score his second goal to open the second half before Franck Tayou joined his brother on the score sheet, scoring between the legs of Neto. He backed it up with another score to extend the Ontario lead to 10-3.

The third quarter turned especially contentious, with five blue cards and two yellows issued. The Comets earned three blues, and they split the yellows with Ontario. Amidst the indiscipline, they found themselves with a man advantage, and Kiel Williams scored Kansas City’s first goal of the second half, assisted by Kevin Ellis.

The Comets started the fourth quarter with Lucas Rodriguez as sixth attacker, and the Fury started the quarter with a goal from Hernandez, pushing the lead to 11-4.

The play of the game for the Comets came next. Off a set piece deep in the attacking end, Sosa found the forehead of a streaking Nacho Flores for Kansas City’s fifth goal. Gibson added to it midway through the quarter with a rocket from the top of the box to cut the deficit to five.

The Comets kept chipping away at the lead throughout the fourth quarter, the extra player on the field keeping them on the offensive. Williams scored the next one, with the assist going to Gibson. The coach then brought it to within three when Rodriguez slid him the ball at the top of the arc, and he spun and scored. With just under two minutes to play, Kansas City trailed by three, but the rally proved too little, too late.