STARS COMPLETE SEASON SWEEP OF OUTLAWS WITH 6-3 WIN SUNDAY
TACOMA, WA. - The Tacoma Stars (10-9-1) needed a win over the Mesquite Outlaws (11-7-2) to keep pace with the Flash for the 5th and final seed in the Western Conference Playoff race. Following a convincing 13-1 win for Tacoma last night, the same teams squared off again on Sunday and the Stars were up to the task. It was a much closer contest but the Stars doubled up the Outlaws by a 6-3 score. With the win, Tacoma swept the season series with the Outlaws three games to none.
Having posted five points last night, the Stars were once again led offensively by Nick Perera who finished Sunday's contest with three goals and an assist which left him in striking distance of two very big MASL milestones. With the Stars home finale coming up Friday against Dallas, Perera sits one assist shy of 200 for his MASL career which would make him only the second player ever to hit that mark. He is also just three points away from 400 regular-season points and would join Franck Tayou, Ian Bennett, and Leo Gibson in the 400 Club.
While last night's game was already looking like a runaway at halftime, Sunday's game went to the break with Tacoma leading their guests by a single goal at 2-1.
The teams were even at a goal apiece after the first 15 minutes of play following unassisted goals from Eddie Na for Tacoma and Emmanuel Aguirre for the Outlaws.
Philip Lund netted his 8th goal of the season on an assist from Kyle Rivers with a rocket on a tough angle from the left side to put the home up by that 2-1 score with one half of play in the books.
Neither team managed to find the back of the net during the 3rd quarter so the game was on to the final frame with the Stars clinching that one-goal margin. It didn't last long.
Luiz Morales tied the game at 2-2 on an assist by Sebastian Mendez with 9:54 left in regulation. Then Perera went to work.
First, he took a pass from Alex Caceres and beat Mesquite keeper 'Pollo' Cortes to put the Stars back up by one at 3-2 18 seconds after the Outlaws tied it up. Cory Keitz assisted on Perera's next goal just 20 seconds later and the Stars were up 4-2 with 9:16 remaining.
Not going away easy in this one, Stephen Gonzales once again cut Tacoma's lead to a single goal at 4-3 with the clock showing just 6:58 to go.
That would be as close as Mesquite would get as the Stars were able to tack on two more goals from Perera and Mike Ramos after the Outlaws brought on their sixth attacker.
With the win, the Stars remain in a very tight race with the Monterrey Flash for the final playoff seed. Tacoma sits just two points behind Monterrey with each team having four games remaining on their schedules.
Tacoma wraps up their 2022-23 home schedule this Friday against the Dallas Sidekicks at 7:35 on Fan Appreciation Night. Tickets for that game are available at the accesso ShoWare Center box office or by going to www.tacomastars.com/tickets.