The Kansas City Comets’ six-game winning streak came to an end as they suffered their first defeat of the season by a final score of 6-5 on the road against the St. Louis Ambush on Friday, Jan. 14.
Without two of the team’s leading scorers, player-coach Leo Gibson and Kevin Ellis, KC was unable to finish their chances, outshooting the Ambush 41-18. The Comets also continued to shoot themselves in the foot with six penalties in the second half, including a red card to Matt Lewis for protesting the officials in the third quarter that was officially labeled as “abusive language or action.”
The Ambush opened the scoring 77 seconds into the contest with an effort from Mohamed Ndiaye. Christian Anderaos equalized for the Comets 18 seconds later. KC’s Rian Marques and STL’s JT Thomas exchanged goals to make it 2-2 after the first quarter. The game slowed down in the second quarter with just a goal from John Sosa to give KC the 3-2 lead at halftime.
STL’s Thomas leveled the score at 4-4 with a double powerplay goal, as KC was at a 6 v 4 disadvantage, with 9:09 left in the third period. That came after James Togbah was given his first blue card and Lewis was sent off for his passionate display.
Still level heading into the fourth quarter, the Ambush took the 4-3 lead after Vadim Cojocov scored with 11:38 left to play. Ray Lee equalized for KC before Ali Sodal buried his first-ever MASL goal to put the visitors ahead 5-4 with 6:01 remaining.
STL’s Ndiaye took advantage of the space he was given and fired in a shot to make it 5-5 with 2:17 left. Following another blue card for Togbah, St. Louis found the go-ahead goal from Tony Walls, turning a defender on the boards and blasting a shot past the keeper from a tight angle.
With Lucas Sousa in as the sixth attacker for the first time this season, KC’s best chance for a late equalizer came in the last five seconds when John Sosa cut in on his right foot and ripped a shot that was tipped away by the keeper, and Togbah’s follow-up effort was saved again.
After Friday’s results, the Comets (6-1; 18 points) still sit at the top of the Central Division, six points clear of the Dallas Sidekicks and St. Louis Ambush.
Kansas City’s lack of offensive conversion was big. Sousa was held without a point for the first time this season while Adam James has now gone 14 consecutive games without a goal. KC was led offensively by Marques with a goal and two assists while Sosa and Lee each had a goal and an assist.
The Ambush were led by Ndiaye, who had a game-leading five points from two goals and three assists. Ambush keeper Eduardo “Pollo” Cortez recorded a .821 save percentage with a career-high 23 saves. Comets keeper Nicolau Neto had a season-low seven saves and .538 save percentage.
The Comets have a quick turnaround as they look to put another winning streak together visit Danny Waltman and the Tacoma Stars on Sunday, kickoff at 7:05 p.m. CST on MASLtv.