by Pete Richmire

SAN DIEGO, CA. – The Stars 2018-19 MASL season came to an end with 3:35 left in the second overtime on Eduardo Velez’s third goal of the night for the San Diego Sockers as they sweep Tacoma in the opening round of the Ron Newman Cup Playoffs. Brandon Escoto also had a hat trick for the Sockers in their 7-6 win in front of 3,307 fans at Pachanga Arena San Diego.

San Diego started the game looking like they would have an easy time as they tallied three straight goals in the first quarter beginning with Velez’s first of the night with an assist by Cesar Cerda. Escoto notched the next two goals for San Diego and with 4:31 left in the first quarter the Sockers looked to be cruising 3-0.

The next three goals however, belonged to Tacoma starting with Adam West launching a rocket past a four-man wall on a set piece with 2:49 to play in the opening frame. The only two goals of the second quarter belonged to the Stars off the feet of Vince McCluskey and Lamar Neagle. Those goals, on assists by Nick Perera and Raphael Cox respectively, sent the teams to the locker room tied 3-3 at the halfway point.

Velez gave the Sockers a 4-3 lead just 17 seconds into the third quarter and they held that advantage until Cox found Perera for the equalizer with 50 seconds left in the quarter.

Momentum shifted Tacoma’s way and Dan Antoniuk gave the Stars their first lead of the game assisted by Pablo Da Silva with 14:19 left in regulation. The Stars were looking for some breathing room and Perera came through with his second goal of the match with 2:57 on the clock and it looked like the teams were heading for a decisive mini-game after this one was over.

San Diego pulled goalkeeper Boris Pardo for a sixth attacker and it paid off quickly as Escoto took a Leonardo De Oliveira pass and sent it past Tacoma keeper Danny Waltman to cut the Stars lead to 6-5 with 2:19 remaining. Christian Segura sent the game to overtime with just 13.5 seconds remaining and it would take more than one overtime to decide a winner.

Despite several big saves by Waltman San Diego eventually found the back of the net when Escoto connected with Velez on the Sockers’ 45thshot of the game to advance to the Western Conference Final where they will face either the Rio Grande Valley Barracudas or the Monterrey Flash.


Scoring Summary

1st Qtr - SD Velez (Cerda) 3:46; SD Escoto (De Oliveira) 5:05; SD Escoto 10:29; TAC West 12:11; Penalties - none.

2nd Qtr - TAC McCluskey (Perera) 1:06; TAC Neagle (Cox); Penalties - SD De Oliveira blue card (contact above the shoulder) 7:45; SD De Oliveira yellow card (dissent) 7:45.

3rd Qtr - SD Velez (Contreras) 0:17; TAC Perera (Cox) 14:10; Penalties - none.

4th Qtr - TAC Antoniuk (Da Silva) 0:41; TAC Perera 12:03; SD Escoto (De Oliveira) 12:41- 6 attackers; SD Segura (Ruiz) 14:47- 6 attackers;Penalties - none.

OT - SD Velez (Escoto) 6:25; Penalties - none.


Shots - Tacoma 6-11-1-5-5 (28), San Diego 8-8-4-10-15 (45)
Attendance - 3,307


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