Tacoma Topped By Ontario, 7-5

by Brett Gleason

ONTARIO, Calif. -- The Tacoma Stars (10-8) rallied for five goals in the second half, but ultimately fell in the final minute to the Ontario Fury (8-8) by a final score of 7-5 on Thursday night at Citizens Business Bank Arena.

Goalkeeper Danny Waltman and the Stars defense kept the Fury off the scoreboard for the majority of the second half, giving the Tacoma offense an opportunity to come back from a 5-0 halftime deficit. After the Stars evened the match at 5-5 late in the game, Ontario eventually broke through for a pair of deciding goals to escape with a win.

Waltman tallied a total of seven saves on the night, while forward Alex Megson led the offensive side with three points coming off a trio of assists.

Ontario cruised through the first half of the match, scoring five times while their defense logged a shutout, allowing just four shots on goal. Leonardo De Oliveira and Juan Carlos Gonzalez checked in with goals for the Fury in the first quarter, while Jiho Lee, Maicon De Abreu, and Oliveira sent in a trio of scores in the second to send Ontario into halftime with a commanding 5-0 lead.

However, the Stars would go on to mount a furious second-half rally that started with three goals in the third period to cut the Fury lead to just two. Defender Troy Peterson broke the seal for the Stars midway through the quarter, and was followed by scores from forward Dan Antoniuk and midfielder Micheal Ramos. Entering the final quarter of play, Tacoma trailed Ontario by a score of 5-3.

Stars defender Evan McNeley continued the comeback effort with a goal three and a half minutes into the fourth quarter, pulling Tacoma within one. With just over two minutes remaining in the match, midfielder Raphael Cox found the back of the net for a thrilling Stars equalizing goal, knotting the match up at 5-5. One minute later, Lee put the Fury back out in front 6-5 with his second goal of the match. An empty-net goal for Oliveira right before time expired wrapped up the scoring, giving Ontario a 7-5 victory.

Tacoma remains in second place in the MASL Pacific Division after the loss, one game ahead of Ontario for the division’s final playoff spot.

The Stars return to Washington for a pair of home matches to close out the season, starting with a contest against the Chicago Mustangs on Friday, Feb. 24 at 7:35 p.m. PT.

 Single game tickets, season ticket packages, group outings, family packs, and suite offerings for the Tacoma Stars 2016-17 season are available now. To purchase, call 1-844-STARS-TIME or visit the Stars online at www.tacomastars.com. The most up-to-date news and notes about the Stars can be found by following the Stars on Twitter (@TacomaStarsSC) or liking the team on Facebook.