The Missouri Comets came into the match Saturday night needing a win to break a two game losing streak and stay ahead of Wichita and the rest of the teams just below them in the standings. This task was complicated by injuries (Stefan St. Louis) and the team’s leading scorer out with a suspension (Byron Alvarez). The Comets were left without a regular target forward in the lineup so it looked like the Comets would play defensively and try to keep the game low scoring.
The Comets players threw that notion out early and often when Ryan Junge scored a three pointer just 30 second in and Leo Gibson followed it up 40 seconds later to snatch an early lead on the way to a record setting night.
With the regular forwards out, Coach Roentved moved Leo Gibson back up top and the move really paid off. Gibson had been a natural forward but had moved back to defense in the Comets’ inaugural season two years ago. Gibson did not miss a beat and seemed ready to make up for all that time trying to prevent goals.
Gibson added two more goals in the first quarter for a natural hat trick to give the Comets a 10-0 lead at the 6:30 mark before the Lancers finally got on the board at the 12:00 mark.
Rochester came back in the second quarter when their leading scorer Doug Miller woke up and scored a pair. The teams seemed to trade goals and the Lancers narrowed the gap to 19-13 at half.
After so many goals in the first and second quarters, the third was relatively quiet Mauricio Salles scored his second goal just under a minute and half in to the quarter and Gibson added his fourth at 11:17.
The fourth was a little more exciting when Evan McNeley scored for the Lancers to come within 5 points but a few minutes later the Comets would put the game away. Gibson scored twice more, Cristiano put away his second and Coady Andrews adding the icing to the cake make the final 30-17 in favor of the home team Comets.
“I didn’t plan on that at all,” Comets head coach Kim Roentved exclaimed after the match.
With Gibson scoring 2 three point goals, 4 two point goals and adding two assists for a total of 16 points, he set a new MISL record for scoring. The previous record was held by team mate Byron Alvarez with 6 two point goals and an assist for 13 points.
The two teams are no stranger to a player taking over a game and scoring a bunch of goals. When the Comets visited Rochester at the beginning of December, Lancers veteran Doug Miller seemed unstoppable when he scored 6 two point goals to lead his team to a 24-17 victory.
Coach Roentved smiled when asked about that. “I pointed that out to Jim Hesch (Rochester’s coach),” Roentved laughed. ”Touché, that’s the way it goes.”
While Coach Roentved is always happy for a win, he was not pleased with how many points his team gave up. “I need to evaluate, that’s not the way I want to win games and that’s not the way you win trophies. We’ve got to strengthen the defense,” Ronteved stated. “We’ve got to get back to the drawing board in regards to our defense. That is just not acceptable.”
Man of the Match
Leo Gibson is probably the easiest choice that can ever be made