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Comets lose to Express in overtime thriller following late mental mistake

Leo Gibson’s first game as head coach did not go as planned, suffering a 6-5 defeat in California.

Thad Bell

The Turlock Cal Express handed the Kansas City Comets an unexpected loss Friday night in a 6-5 overtime thriller.

The Comets were without Mark Saxby, Ramone Palmer, and Robert Palmer due to suspensions. Kansas City were also without recently signed players Lucas Sousa and Nicolau Neto, who along with Robert and Ramone Palmer, await their visa approval.

The Comets called on Wichita Wings goalkeeper Steven Hamersky to step in for the suspended Saxby. Hamersky was forced into several big saves in the first half, but goals from Mirko Sandivari, Lucas Rodriguez, and John Sosa weren’t enough as the Comets entered the locker room frustrated with inconsistent officiating down 4-3.

In the second half, the Comets managed to draw level with goals from Kiel Williams and Adam James while Turlock got one of their own to send the game to overtime at 5-5. Following a two minute blue card given to the Comets for too many men, Turlock’s Juan Gonzalez blasted a shot past Hamersky on the ensuing powerplay, handing the Comets their first loss.

The Comets head back to Kansas City hugely disappointed, losing to the Express, who seemed to have made great improvements under new management from last season’s 3-21 record. The playing surface was anything but ideal, playing on a small field in an unusual environment, but the Comets got off to a good start and then let the home side back in it.

Leo Gibson and the Comets will look to regroup and get their first win as they return home next Saturday for their home opener against the St. Louis Ambush. Next Saturday’s game could possibly see the return of the Palmer duo, who both could return from suspension pending approval of their visa. Saturday’s I-70 Rivalry will start at 7:05 PM CT.