by Craig Elsten/Sockers

The San Diego Sockers—presented by Kaiser Permanente San Diego-travel up the I-15 for the third and final time this season, matching up against the Ontario Fury from Toyota Arena on Tuesday evening. The match is set for a 7:05pm kickoff, and will be televised live on MASL TV on YouTube.

The Sockers are concluding a quick but furious road trip that began last weekend in Tacoma, and spans three matches over just five days’ time. Tuesday’s match is the fifth of six scheduled meetings between San Diego and Ontario. The Sockers are 3-0-1 so far against the Fury, winning by scores of 6-3, 7-2, and 8-7 (OT shootout), and losing by an 8-7 (OT) score. In Ontario, the Sockers are 2-0, winning 7-2 and 8-7 (shootout). San Diego has taken 9 of the 12 MASL standings points in the head-to-head series so far. The clubs will face each other a final time on April 3 in San Diego.

The Sockers (12-0-1, 33 points) are on a nine-match winning streak, and enter Tuesday in the top spot of the MASL standings table, two points ahead of Florida (10-1-1, 31 points) and five ahead of Kansas City (9-1-1, 28 points). The win streak has included four overtime victories, three in sudden death and one in a shootout.

Last weekend, San Diego controlled a pair of victories in the Pacific Northwest, defeating the Tacoma Stars by scores of 6-3 on Friday, and 12-3 on Saturday. Brandon Escoto paced the Sockers attack on Friday night with a hat trick and assist, for a four-point match. Christian Gutierrez added a pair of goals, with Kraig Chiles contributing a goal and assist. Saturday’s affair saw the Sockers jump to an early 4-1 lead and never look back. Leonardo de Oliveira and Juan Carlos “Charlie” Gonzalez each had two goal/three assist games, while Tavoy Morgan netted four goals. Boris Pardo started both matches in net, recording two wins while saving 18 of 23 shots against.

The Sockers put a perfect road record on the line on Tuesday, as San Diego has started the 2021-22 campaign with a 7-0 mark away from home. The Sockers’ road success captured three road wins in Tacoma, and has included a pair of wins in Ontario and Chihuahua, including three overtime road victories. The 2018-19 MASL season saw San Diego set the league record with a 12-0 record away from home.

Ontario (7-3-2, 22 points) sits in fourth place (top wild card position) in the overall MASL standings table, and has won two straight after dropping back-to-back matches in overtime shootouts. The Fury pummeled their last two opponents, beating Utica and Tacoma by a combined 23-7 score. Ontario averages 6.8 goals-per-match offensively, surrendering 5.3 goals-per-match. Forward Franck Tayou is a four-time former MASL MVP who leads the Fury in goals (21) and points (31). Former Sockers goalkeeper Chris Toth is 5-3-1 in eight starts with a 4.68 GAA and .736 SV%. Justin Stinson (13 goals) and Jorge DeLeon (10 goals) are key contributors to the Ontario attack. Defender Robert Palmer has (7-8=15) points and 20 blocked shots.