Things got testy in the second half after a lackluster first two quarters as Lucas Rodriguez and Leo Gibson star in another big win Silverstein Eye Centers Arena, this time a 6-5 overtime win against a fellow playoff contender in the Harrisburg Heat.
As announced on the broadcast, Ray Lee (Hartford Athletic), Ray Saari (Energy FC), and Matt Lewis (unsure) are done for the season with the impending USL season. Ramone Palmer’s season debut waited as he did not dress for Thursday’s meeting with Harrisburg.
Robert Kelly opened the scoring early for the Comets with a nicely placed shot assisted by Leo Gibson. The Heat quickly equalized with a goal from Marcel Berry. Ignacio Flores restored the lead for the Comets after Adam James dished it off to the Chilean for his fourth goal of the season. Jerjer Gibson leveled it at 2-2 with a tap-in at the back post assisted from Daniel Villela. The only action of the second quarter was a penalty kill from the Comets after John Sosa was given a blue card for a two-footed tackle.
Kevin Ellis scored midway through the third period as Leo Gibson grabbed his second assist of the evening to give Kansas City the 3-2 lead. Harrisburg found yet another equalizer after Mirko Sandivari knocked it into his own net, but Daniel Villela received credit for the goal. Dominic Francis gave the Heat their first lead at 4-3 unassisted, but Lucas Rodriguez grabbed the equalizer in the final seconds of the third period as Leo Gibson grabbed his third assist of the night.
Indoor soccer veteran Nelson Santana restored the Heat a one goal advantage five minutes into the fourth quarter. Lucas Rodriguez found his second equalizer of the night, this time assisted by John Sosa on the powerplay to force overtime.
Things got heated in overtime as Harrisburg’s Ty Hall was given a red card for choking Kevin Ellis and Ignacio Flores was given a blue card for unsportsmanlike conduct. Jerjer Gibson was given a red card for foul accumulation after picking up his sixth foul of the contest. In the final seconds, Leo Gibson winded down the clock to make sure his side got the final shot, similar to what they do in basketball, and Gibson’s shot rolled across the face of goal and slammed off the board, ended at the foot of Lucas Rodriguez, who finished his hat trick with the help of two deflections with less than a second remaining in overtime.
This win takes the Comets above .500 for the first time this season and improve to 7-6 while the Heat drop to 9-5.
This certainly wasn’t the cleanest game the Comets have played this season, but it was an emotional game that took a lot of will and desire. The defense had some timely blocks that saved the game in overtime. This win drags the Comets closer toward the playoffs with just Baltimore and Harrisburg keeping them out.
This win did come with a cost, as Robert Palmer was playing through an injury for much of the game and Robert Kelly was forced straight into the locker room after taking a hard kick to his ankle. Kelly will have an X-ray on Friday and wasn’t able to put any pressure on his foot, but he will likely be out for Saturday’s trip to Milwaukee.
The Comets now head to Milwaukee for another showdown with the Wave on Saturday night at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena.