The latest chapter in the rivalry between the Kansas City Comets and Milwaukee Wave was full of fiery passion.
It began on Saturday when the Comets fell off in the second half to lose in Milwaukee 8-4. That was followed by an 11-4 dominant Comets win on Sunday at Cable Dahmer Arena.
Among the three injured for KC was Nicolau Neto, who still made his presence known on Sunday. Kevin Ellis was also absent, missing last week’s loss to the Chihuahua Savage due to a family emergency.
KC’s loss on Saturday was their second straight loss. KC’s Lesia Thetsane and MKE’s Tyler turner exchanged goals during the first period. In the second, Leo Gibson and Thetsane scored for the Comets but entered the locker room level at 3-3 with a second-quarter brace from Ian Bennett.
After going down for the first time of the night to a goal from Derek Huffman, the Comets equalized with a goal from Rian Marques. Then Milwaukee added three more in the third quarter and another in the fourth to run away with an 8-4 win.
Turning around less than 24 hours later, the Comets brought a ton of passion, energy and offense in Sunday’s return home.
Christian Anderaos’ opener was canceled out by Andre Hayne, but KC added goals from Marques and Thetsane to pull ahead 3-1 at the end of the first quarter. A five-goal second quarter saw Nick McDonald’s first two goals of the season to help the Comets outscore the Wave 3-2 to put the hosts ahead 6-3 at halftime.
It was all Comets in the second half. Goals from Lucas Sousa, John Sosa and Adam James drowned out Ian Bennett’s lone goal. Ignacio Flores and Sousa added goals late in the fourth to deliver KC’s third win over Milwaukee this season in four games, this one ending with a final of 11-4.
“It’s nice for us to get out of that challenging time,” Comets player-coach Leo Gibson said. “It just shows how good this team is technically and mentally.”
This weekend’s results keep the Comets (11-2-1; 31 points) in prime position 11 points clear of the second-place Dallas Sidekicks (7-7; 20 points) in the Central Division. At the bottom of the division, Milwaukee (6-7-1; 18 points) took third place from the St. Louis Ambush (5-8-2; 17 points). All four Central Division teams currently sit above the playoff line as the Ambush are one point clear of the Chihuahua Savage.
Making the gameday roster for the first time since November, Comets midfielder Nick McDonald played his first MASL minutes in nearly three months as he played both matches in this weekend’s doubleheader. Held scoreless Saturday, the Rockhurst University graduate added two goals and an assist on Sunday.
“Obviously everyone wants to be playing, and so I’m just happy I got my chance and made the most of it,” McDonald said. “Hopefully, this can give me a run of games and keep it going.”
McDonald wasn’t the only big performer on Sunday. Sosa led the game with four points from a goal and three assists, after three assists on Saturday. James and Sousa also tallied three points from two goals and an assist.
The rivalry really got flowing this weekend. No love was lost as both sides had some heated exchanges during and after the game Sunday. The Comets made sure that the Wave knew what the score was.
Despite dressing as the mandatory backup keeper and carrying a left knee strain, Neto was in the thick of the postgame scuffle with MKE’s Huffman.
“It's always intense,” Comets player-coach Leo Gibson said. “They have a style, we have our style. Whoever plays style the best wins. And we did today. We tried to keep our cool and focus on our game. It worked for us.”
The Comets next travel out to California next week for a couple of tough matchups against the San Diego Sockers on Friday, Feb. 25, and Ontario Fury on Sunday, Feb. 27. The Comets return home on Friday, March 4 when they host Dallas.