Bolts Defeat Las Vegas 11-8 in Emotional Road Battle
ANAHEIM, Calif. - In a match that had the fans at the Orleans Arena on the edge of their seats, the Bolts registered a hard-fought 11-8 road victory over the Las Vegas Legends on Sunday. The win was powered by standout performances from goalkeeper Manubu Kaji and striker Luis Gonzalez, who had four tallies in the contest. Home side Las Vegas ' spirited effort fell just short on the day, despite three goals from striker Enrique Tovar and a late push in the game's dramatic fourth period.
A model of efficiency in the opening quarter, the Bolts withstood wave after wave of opposition attacks - in large part thanks to several superb saves by Kaji - and finished nearly all of their own chances for a 4-0 lead. Diego Barrera, Adriano de Lima, Gonzalez and Danny Barrera all found the net, with the period's best goal coming from Gonzalez, who finished off a textbook counter-attack to put the visitors on top 3-0.
Ahead by four to start the second quarter, the Bolts found themselves on the wrong end of the game's most controversial moment when Kaji appeared to deny Rodrigo Barbirato with a stunning point-blank reflex, only for the referee to rule that the ball had crossed the line.
Visibly affected by the surprise decision, which saw the Bolts concede mere second from the expiration of an opposition powerplay, Head Coach Bernie Lilavois' men were unable to maintain their momentum and gave up three more goals before the end of the period. Former Anaheim star Tovar capitalized on a defensive miscue and Roberto Garcia Jr. scored on a powerplay before another ex-Bolt, Felipe Gonzalez, tied things up at 4-4.
The third quarter, which at times resembled a wrestling match, saw the Legends with an early chance to take the lead on a Tovar penalty kick that was blocked by the outstanding Kaji. With tempers flaring between the two benches in the run-up to Tovar's attempt, the intensity only increased after the striker's miss.
Anaheim's Gonzalez was unimpressed by the heated atmosphere and tallied twice before the end of the period, his pair of goals including a beautiful left-footed drive into the upper ninety. Midfielder Zach Bautista also found the net for the Bolts in the period, and as did Tovar for Las Vegas. Anaheim 's 3-1 run in the third quarter brought the overall score to 7-5.
The closing quarter seemed to be taken straight from the script of a Hollywood thriller. With victory appearing all but secured for the visitors following strikes by Jose Rodriguez and Danny Barrera, the Legends' Tovar, Frank Tayou and Garcia Jr. scored spectacular goals to cut the opposition lead to 9-8. First Tovar finished off a fantastic combination play, followed by a beautiful side-volley from Tayou and a left-footed Garcia Jr. blast into the upper ninety with only seconds left on a Las Vegas powerplay.
The dramatic turn of events saw the hosts sacrifice goalkeeper Jesus Molina for a sixth field player in the closing stages, but only to concede twice on open-net strikes by De Lima and Miguel Sanchez that rounded out the score line at 11-8.
Head Coach Bernie Lilavois and his men hope to build on the momentum gained from the emotional win when they travel to take on the Arizona Storm on Sunday, November 11. Meanwhile, the Legends hope to bounce back in their November 9 road clash with Turlock Express.
The Bolts' next home game is on December 9, also against Turlock . Tickets for the 4 p.m. PT clash start at $12 and may be purchased through Ticketmaster or the Anaheim Convention Center Arena box office. For more information, please call the Bolts' front office at 714-321-9898 or the Anaheim Convention Center Arena at 714-765-8980.
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