LAKELAND, Fla. — A day after securing their spot in the postseason, the Kansas City Comets turned in a defensive gem against the Florida Tropics.
With Mark Saxby starring in the net, the Comets defeated the Tropics 6-2 at the RP Funding Center Saturday night.
The Comets scored four unanswered goals in the second half and Saxby stopped every shot on goal to help Kansas City improve to 13-10.
“Mark just looks more and more comfortable in the net, and he is playing with so much confidence right now,” Comets coach Kim Roentved said. “He has confidence in the players in front of him and the players have just as much confidence in him.
“You know, losing can be habit forming – and so can winning. Right now, this team thinks it can go out and beat anyone. We’re playing with so much confidence and it is fun to watch. It would have been easy to let down after the big win that got us into the playoffs, but that’s not how our team is built.
“We have some special players on this team, and we are really playing well now.”
The Comets took a 3-0 lead early in the game on goals by Ramone Palmer, Nacho Flores and John Sosa banged a long-range shot from outside the yellow line into the net.
A second-period goal by Bryan Perez gave the Comets a 4-0 lead at the half.
Caio Ruiz ended the Tropic scoring skid as he scored five minutes into the second half. A restart late in the third quarter gave Florida the chance to get within two as Guilherme Dos Santos, who has been out since January 26 with injury, gained the goal to make it a 4-2 game.
But that was it for the Tropics, as the Comets fourth quarter defense, much of which came against a sixth attacker, was perfect.
With Florida’s sixth attacker on the field, the Comets were able to ice the game with two empty-net goals. First Ramone Palmer sent a long-distance chip from his own side of the field, then Anthony Grant was able to beat the defense and tuck away a score.
“We’re playing with so much confidence right now,” said Saxby, who faced 22 shots. “I can tell the guys have a lot of confidence in the way I’m playing, and I have confidence in all of them.
“There have been some ups and downs this season, but we’re like a family. We get through the tough times, keep supporting each other, and now, we’re going out and winning the game we need to win.”