Kansas City Comets’ playoff hopes alive with upset victory at San Diego Sockers

The Kansas City Comets shocked the Sockers on Sunday night, pulling off a 9-4 upset of the Western Conference leaders at Pechanga Arena San Diego.

The Comets had fallen in the standings, jeopardizing their playoff hopes by winning just one of their previous 10 games.

They can now look to build on the momentum they earned in Southern California with two more games this week.

The Comets’ first win in San Diego since 2017 came in what was likely their final visit to the “Grand Ol’ Arena.” Pechanga Arena has been a formidable venue for decades, but the Sockers are set to move into Frontwave Arena next season.

The Sockers took the early lead 1-0 in the first quarter, but Rian Marques pulled the Comets level with a nifty back-heel redirection with his back to goal in the second quarter. While the Comets were outshot 13-10 in the first half, they entered the locker room level at 1-1.

The Comets entered a track meet in the seven-goal third period. The teams exchanged two goals apiece before the Comets went on a scoring spree, netting three unanswered for a 6-3 lead.

The Sockers had two tries from the penalty spot but were unable to make the second one count. Not much has fallen in the Comets’ favor over the past six weeks, but they finally received a favorable bounce on the second penalty attempt: The Sockers’ shot slammed off the underside of the crossbar before bouncing off the goal line.

The Comets then killed the two-minute penalty before adding three more scores. Marques finished his hat trick to secure the monumental road win.

“I would say that this is a huge win, but I think this is the beginning of a cycle of wins,” Comets coach Stefan Stokic said. “This is the start of something great, and these boys will now understand that everything we’ve been planning and doing is finally coming together.”

The Comets have now won two of their last three and will continue their congested schedule when they visit Ontario, California, to play the Empire Strykers on Wednesday.

“We need to build the momentum now with eyes on the playoffs,” Marques said. “We have to make sure we can build the momentum of consecutive wins in a row and get into the playoffs playing strong.”

The Comets’ offense stepped up in critical moments and the defense was strong all night, holding an opponent to four goals or less for the third consecutive game.

The Comets remain fourth in the East with an eight-point lead over the Baltimore Blast, who have four games in hand.

The Comets will host Retro Night on Saturday at Cable Dahmer Arena when they welcome the longtime rival St. Louis Ambush. Visit kccomets.com for tickets and information on the auction to win autographed retro jerseys.