Friday, December 7, 2012
CHICAGO -- The Rochester Lancers grabbed a dramatic victory against the Chicago Soul in the expansion franchise's home opener on Friday night at the Sears Centre Arena. After hanging close in the first half and dominating most of the second, the Soul were stunned by a late Lancers rally that featured a game-winner by Mauricio Salles in the final seconds, giving Rochester a 13-11 victory.
Chicago held an 11-6 lead after the opening three quarters, but Rochester's Jeremy Ortiz managed to close the gap in the fourth quarter with a goal, making it an 11-8 Soul advantage. Rochester then pulled Ortiz in as a sixth attacker, and Stephen Basso was able to score to make it a one-point game with just under two minutes to play. Salles put the game away with 11 seconds remaining, firing in a 3-pointer to put the Lancers on top 13-11.
"We have to learn how to put the game away," said Soul Head Coach Manny Rojas. "We had the score in our favor near the end, and we failed to maintain and capitalize. We missed a lot of opportunities on our end. I think it came down to a matter of confidence. We lost it, and now we have to find a way to get it back if we want to turn things around."
The first half proved to be a back-and-forth battle as both teams took turns getting on the board. The Soul struck first with Carlos Muñoz finding the net early on to make it 2-0. The Lancers quickly evened the playing field on a goal by Ortiz. Chicago answered right back when Christian Meza blasted the ball past Rochester goalkeeper Gavin McInerney, making it a 4-2 Soul advantage.
The Lancers came up with an answer of their own on the other end as Salles netted one in to tie it up at 4-4. Bato Radoncic put the Soul back on top 6-4, but Rochester's Doug Miller tied the score up once again, and both squads headed to the locker rooms at six a piece.
The Soul opened up third quarter scoring with Meza's second goal of the night on a power play, and Chicago took an 8-6 lead. Meza then struck again, this time from 3-point range, to complete his hat trick and extend the Soul's lead to 11-6, only for the Lancers to rally in the final 15 minutes to claim their third win against the Soul this season.
The Soul will look to make a quick turnaround as they head back out on the road on Sunday. The squad will travel to Kansas City to take on the Missouri Comets. Kickoff is set for 3:10 p.m. CT.