by Pete Richmire

Kent, WA. The Tacoma Stars wrapped up their regular-season home schedule with a 10-5 win over the visiting Empire Strykers despite a first-quarter hat trick for Marco Fabián. For Tacoma, it was their seventh consecutive regular-season win, while the Strykers skid also reached seven in a row.

Tacoma opened scoring in the first quarter on a short-handed goal from Nick Perera , his second man-down marker of the season, in his first game back from a knee injury. Chris Toth sent a perfect outlet pass to set up the goal and was credited with his sixth assist of the season. 

With additional first-quarter goals for Tacoma by Nani Mendoza and Alessandro Canale, who each finished with two goals on the night, at the end of the first quarter the teams were level at 3-3. 

After a hard-battled first 15 minutes, the Stars found momentum in the second quarter and scored four consecutive goals to take a 7-4 lead at halftime. Alan Perez snapped the Tacoma goal run with an unassisted tally with 3:03 left in the half.

Tacoma benefitted from two Mike Ramos goals, Mendoza's second of the game, and one from Jamael Cox. 

Fans were treated to a superb performance by Eastside Dream Elite Cheer and Dance before the Star Wars Night costume contest, which was won by a Darth Vader who was more than willing to take on all comers with stellar light saber skills. 

Once play resumed, the Stars rattled off three straight goals to extend their lead to 10-4 with 3:19 to go in the fourth quarter. Willie Spurr and Sebastian Navarro each found the back of the net before Canale capped off the run with Tacoma's second power play goal of the night. Perera assisted on both Stars' special team goals to maintain his 3.0 points-per-game average, tops in the MASL.

With time running out, Quentin Swift used a Mo Alewine assist to record Empire's fifth goal of the game with 17 seconds to play.

The Stars and Strykers will play the final game in the 2023-24 MASL regular season when Tacoma visits Toyota Arena on Sunday, March 31 at 4:05 pm.