BALTIMORE — For a while Saturday it looked as if the Missouri Comets might do it again.
By GLENN GRAHAM
Special to The Star
One week after the Comets pulled off an improbable comeback and beat Milwaukee in the playoffs, they took an early lead against Baltimore and seemed to be in position to win the MISL championship series.
Alas, the Blast rallied for an 8-6 game-two victory and swept the two-game series in front of an announced crowd of 8,704 at 1st Mariner Arena.
Needing to win Saturday’s game to force a mini-game that would decide the championship, the Comets jumped to a 4-0 halftime lead.
The Blast, which had the MISL’s best record in the regular season, got a couple of power-play goals to tie the game in the third period.
Baltimore gained its first lead on Adriano Dos Santos’ fourth-quarter goal and rookie Lucas Roque followed shortly after with another goal to give the Blast an 8-4 lead.
Naturally, the Comets didn’t go quietly. Byron Alvarez completed his hat trick, scoring his third goal with five minutes remaining to bring Missouri back to within 8-6.
Inserting Vahid Assadpour as the sixth attacker with two minutes remaining gave the Comets many chances, but Baltimore goalkeeper, William Vanzela, came up with several game-preserving saves.
Playing strong on both sides of the field, Missouri controlled possession for much of the first half.
With 5:02 remaining in the opening quarter, Alvarez put the Comets on the board. In the second quarter, Robert Palmer had a full head of steam as he headed toward goal when he was taken out from behind by Baltimore’s Max Ferdinand.
Alvarez converted the resulting shootout opportunity and the Comets went into the halftime break leading 4-0.
The Comets, 13-13, were unable to maintain that pressure in the second half. Ferdinand and Tony Donatelli each scored goals in the third period that tied the game and set the stage for what turned out to be a decisive fourth quarter.
Last week against Milwaukee, the Comets scored late to beat the Wave in game two of the teams’ series. That forced a mini-game, which Missouri won in advancing to the championship series.