The Missouri Comets were looking for something sweet on Valentine’s Day – but it had nothing to do with a box of chocolates.
"We wanted a sweet win, and we got it," said forward Leo Gibson, who scored four goals to lead the Comets to a 24-4 victory over the visiting Pennsylvania Roar Friday night at the Independence Events Center in front of a holiday crowd of more than 3,100.
"Our fans deserved this win. We were terrible (an 11-4 loss to Baltimore) in our last home game. They not only deserved a win on Valentine’s Day, they deserved a win where we were able to dominate our opponent.
"We took care of business the first half, then just worked on some things and wanted to keep their scoring down in the second half. We didn’t want to embarrass them, but we didn’t want to let them get back in the game and think they’d have a chance to win."
Missouri got off to a quick offensive start as Lucas Rodriguez scored off a Brian Harris assist just 2:18 into the game.
"We needed to do something offensively right at the start," Rodriguez said. "We owed our fans a better performance than we gave them the last game. We had a lot of people here tonight on Valentine’s Day, and we wanted to make sure they were happy to be here."
The expansion Roar’s Max Toulette scored their lone first-half goal just 18 seconds later, and the rest of the game belonged to the Comets, who have secured a playoff berth for the fourth year in a row as they improved to 10-7. The Roar limped out of the Events Center with a 1-14 record.
Missouri’s Robert Palmer, Gibson, Alex Megson and Bryan Perez all scored in the first period to account for a 10-2 lead.
The Comets added 10 more points in the second period as Gibson scored the first two goals, Stefan St. Louis, Harris and John Sosa got in on the act to make it a 20-4 game at the half.
The Comets’ Gibson and Andre Braithwaite closed out the second half scoring as goalie Danny Waltman recorded his second third two-goal performance of the season.
"I would say this was the type of win we expected tonight," Comets coach Vlatko Andonovski said. "We know they are a struggling team and we played like we are capable of playing - scoring a lot of points and holding them to very few goals."
The Roar have scored just 84 points this season while the Comets have scored 252.
"We can score points and we can play great defense," Gibson said. "Danny was outstanding tonight. This was a great complete game. We are heading into the playoffs very soon and we want to play like this going into the playoffs."
Team captain Vahid Assadpour did not play in the game because of a knee injury.
"If it were the playoffs, Vahid would have played," Andonovski said. "We want him 100 percent healthy for the playoffs. As you can see, we did not need to risk anything tonight."
Assadpour, who was tied for the league scoring lead going into the game, said he is not worried about personal goals.
"I want to be healthy for the playoffs," said Assadpour, who has 55 points this season. "The team did not need me tonight. They will need me healthy in the playoffs, and I can’t wait to get back."