Home is finally sweet for the Comets as they defeated the visiting Omaha Vipers by a final score of 11-6 Friday night at the Independence Events Center. Led by Byron Alvarez’s 4th hat trick of the year and Danny Waltman’s stellar play in goal, the victory is the team’s second in a row at the IEC, marking the Comets’ first home winning streak of the season. The Comets led the Vipers from start to finish, another first for the team.
“We got a heck of a game out of Byron (Alvarez) and Danny (Waltman) tonight,” said Comets’ Head Coach, Kim Roentved. “It was nice to see Byron take over like he did. He had some amazing goals, and Danny – he’s been incredible lately. Now it’s off to Chicago tomorrow to see if we can keep this thing going.”
Byron Alvarez got the scoring going at the 6:50 mark with his 25th goal of the year with a rocket from the left side after a 3-on-1 break pass from Lucas Rodriguez to give the Comets the early 2-0 lead, which would turn out to be the only scoring of the 1st period.
At the 7:10 mark of the 2nd period, Leo Gibson continued the scoring for the Comets with a shot past Vipers keeper, Josh Miller, directly in front of the goal, assisted by Jamar Beasley. With one minute left in the half, Omaha’s Victor Quiroz put a shot past the Comets’ Danny Waltman from the top of the arc off a restart. The Comets took a 4-2 lead into halftime.
The 3rd period started quietly by both teams, but was highlighted by a desperation kick-save by Waltman who was laying down on the goal line after a flurry of Viper shots on goal. Then it was Alvarez again getting the Comets back on the board after going up in the air for a header with Josh Miller draped over his back. Alvarez got just enough of the ball to get over Miller and trickle into the corner of the goal to give the Comets a 6-2 lead, which is how the period would end.
The Comets extended their lead to 8-2 in the final period on an Alvarez power play goal after Omaha’s Johnny Torres was called for a kicking foul. Alvarez got a pass in front of the goal from Tiguinho, and again, he had the Vipers’ Miller right on him. This time, Alvarez flicked the ball around him and into the net, giving Alvarez his 4th hat trick of the season.
Omaha made things interesting as soon as they went with a 6th attacker with six minutes remaining in the game. At the 9:16 mark, it was Johnny Torres scoring to pull the Vipers to within 8-4. Three minutes later, it was Deco scoring off a nifty volley from the left side that got past Waltman to bring them within a goal of tying things up. The Comets’ defense held, and with 36 seconds left in the game, Jamar Beasley found a wide-open Vahid Assadpour at midfield, with only Omaha 6th attacker, Quiroz, between him and the goal. Assadpour lofted the ball perfectly over Quiroz’s head for a game-ending 3-pointer.
The win brings the Comets’ record to 6-11 and only a half game behind Omaha for the third and final playoff spot. The Comets will try to make it three-in-a-row tomorrow night (Saturday) in Chicago against the Riot starting at 8 p.m. A victory tomorrow would pull the team into a third place tie with Omaha. The Comets then return home to the Independence Events Center for the team’s final regular season game of the year on Sunday, March 6th at 3:10 p.m. to take on the Riot.