Tropics see another rally fall just short in 6-4 loss to Kansas City

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND, Fla. – Another Florida Tropics rally fell just short Saturday night as the visiting Kansas City Comets came up with a 6-4 win at the Lakeland Center.

Kansas City, now 5-3,  jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first half (and 5-2 in the second half) but the Tropics Ricardo Diegues started the host's comeback with a goal just 45 seconds before intermission.

Twice in the second half – at 3-2  and 5-4 – Florida got to within one goal, and the Tropics (2-6) appeared to have knocked in the equalizer on a mad scramble in front of Kansas City netminder Stephan Paterson with a little less than two minutes to play, but officials ruled that the ball did not completely cross the goal line.

Diegues ended the night with two goals, his team leading sixth and seventh of the season, including a beautiful back heel flick in the fourth quarter that made it 4-3. Florida's other goals came from Victor Parreiras who was on as a sixth attacker. His 50-foot blast made it 5-4. Victor Rojas' goal in the third quarter brought Florida to within 3-2.

Leo Gibson got two goals to pace the Comets, his team leading eighth and ninth of the campaign. Kansas City outshot Florida, 28-26. Paterson was credited with 13 saves, while Florida goaltender Piotr Sliwa had 16 stops.

The two teams will rematch Dec. 30 in Kansas City, which is also the next game for both teams. Florida will stay in the midwest to conclude the first half of its inaugural season with a New Year's eve matinee against the Cedar Rapids Rampage, before returning to the Lakeland Center Jan. 6 to start a seven-game homestand.

All Tropics games are broadcast live at Tickets for the upcoming home games can be purchased at the team's webiste, or by calling 863-333-5353.