by Pete Richmire

ONTARIO, CA. – The Stars (3-7) stayed in striking distance for the entire game but came up one goal short in a 7-6 loss to the Ontario Fury (6-3) Friday night at Toyota Arena. Vini Dantas registered two goals and Nick Perera added three assists in the losing effort for Tacoma. Juan Carlos Gonzalez was the bright spot for Ontario, notching a hat trick, including the game-winning goal with 5:57 left in the game.

Tacoma opened scoring with two straight goals, first from Philip Lund. Lund took a pass from Alex Caceres turned quick and let it fly with his right foot past Ontario keeper Claysson De Lima for a 1-0 lead with 4:49 to go in the first. The second Tacoma goal was a defensive flash from Jamael Cox, stealing the ball off the foot of De Lima and finding Dantas just outside the top of the box for his 8th goal of the year and a 2-0 Stars lead with 1:07 left in the frame.

It looked like that is how the first quarter would end but with 10 seconds left Jeff Hughes connected with Robert Palmer for his 5th goal of the season and after one it was 2-1 Tacoma. 22 seconds into the next quarter Ontario leveled the match on Maicon De Abreu’s first of two goals in the game. With 4:52 left in the first half it was once again Cox to Dantas when Dantas fired home a rebound when Cox’s initial shot came off the boards quick to make it 3-2 Stars. That would be Tacoma’s last lead in the game.

Gonzalez netted the first of his three in the game to close out first-half scoring and make it a 3-3 game headed to the intermission.

The lone goal of the third quarter was the King Franck Tayou’s only goal of the game and his 14th of the season and gave Ontario their first lead of the night, 4-3 going into the final 15 minutes of play.

The Fury stretched their lead to two goals on De Abreu’s second of the game at 5-3 with 12:56 left to play. Tacoma was not done though, as they logged the next two goals top make it a race headed to the finish line. With just under 10 minutes left, Caceres created a turnover in the Stars offensive third and Perera picked up the loose ball and got it back to Caceres for his 2nd of the season and made it 5-4 Ontario.

Stars rookie Willie Spurr was the next beneficiary of a Perera assist on a breakaway for Spurr’s 3rd of the season and a tie game 5-5 with 8:24 remaining. Enter Gonzalez at that point.

Back-to-back goals from the number one star of the game, raising his season total to nine gave the Fury a 7-5 lead with 5:57 on the clock.

With the 6th attacker on for the Stars, it was Perera with his third assist of the quarter who sent a pass to Mike Ramos on the left side and sailed a shot through traffic into the upper right corner of the goal to bring the Stars once again within one at 7-6 with over four minutes left.

Tacoma was able to mount pressure on the Ontario defense with their 6th attacker and had some good looks at the goal but were unable to harness the late-game magic they are used to.

The Stars will have tomorrow off in Southern California before ending their 2021 regular season at Toyota Arena against the San Diego Sockers, who play the Fury tomorrow for Ontario’s season finale.


1st – TAC Lund (Caceres) 10:11; TAC Dantas (Cox) 13:53; ONT Palmer (Hughes) 14:50. Penalties – None.

2nd – ONT De Abreu (Hernandez) 0:22; TAC Dantas (Cox) 10:08; ONT Gonzalez 12:36. Penalties – TAC Perera blue card (reckless tackle) 5:23.

3rd – ONT F. Tayou (Alvarado) 8:08. Penalties – ONT F. Tayou blue card (tripping) 11:59.

4th – ONT De Abreu (Hughes) 2:04; TAC Caceres (Perera) 5:01; TAC Spurr (Perera) 6:36; ONT Gonzalez (De Abreu) 7:31; ONT Gonzalez 9:03; TAC Ramos (Perera) 10:23. Penalties – None.

Shots – Tacoma 6-6-7-12 (31), Ontario 4-6-7-8 (25)

The Stars will conclude their regular season schedule on Sunday March 14 against the San Diego Sockers at 3 pm PST. Remember to turn your clocks ahead one hour so you’re not late! Watch the game live here -

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