Illinois Piasa Drop Tough Loss to Cincinnati Saints 8-3
PONTOON BEACH, IL. February 1, 2014 - The Illinois Piasa fought hard and were leading for a majority of the match on Saturday night, but a string of fourth quarter goals propelled the Cincinnati Saints to an 8-3 victory.
The Piasa struck first as defender Greg Kranz found striker Muriz Smajic, who took advantage of out-of-position Saints goalkeeper Jamie Starr to tuck the ball into the net and give the home team the early advantage.
The Piasa went on the power play with 5:25 to go in the quarter, but despite a number of chances, they were unable to double their advantage as the first quarter ended 1-0 Piasa.
Early in the second quarter, the Saints equalized as Kwame Sarkodie found space on the edge of the box from Dan Griest's pass and fired a low shot past Piasa goalkeeper Doug Lambert to make it 1-1 at the 1:09 mark.
But the Piasa were back in front only moments later as midfielder Mirza Kovacevic fired a laser past Starr to make it 2-1 with 11:24 remaining.
The Saints went on the power play at the 8:15 mark for a sixth Piasa foul, but the Illinois defense held strong, as the score was 2-1 at the half.
The Saints struck 23 seconds into the third quarter to equalize. Striker Salvatore Fiore gained possession deep in the Piasa end and rounded Lambert to make it 2-2.
But only 19 seconds later, the Piasa were back in front as midfielder Anel Ibricic made it 3-2.
And the Piasa were on the power play with 6:42 remaining in the quarter off a sixth Saints foul. But it was Cincinnati who struck next as Fiore found Scott Shugh for the shorthanded goal at the 8:53 mark in the third quarter.
And the Saints went on the power play with 3:04 to go and took advantage. They took their first lead with 1:52 remaining off a set play as Adam Tenhundfeld picked off Fiore, who drilled his shot past Lambert to make it 4-3 Saints.
The Piasa were threatening early in the fourth, but on the counter attack, Sarkodie found space and fired home to make it 5-3 with 6:15 to go.
And with 5:41 remaining, the Saints made it 6-3 with Sarkodie finding Eddie Hertsenberg to strike a backbreaking blow. With 3:26 to go, it was 7-3 as Fiore was assisting again, this time finding Marc Hansson for the Saints goal. And with 10 seconds remaining, the Saints extended the scoreline to a final of 8-3 when Chris Morman scored for the visitors.
The Piasa are back in action next Saturday, February 8 when the Harrisburg Heat come to town. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:35 PM CST at The Field Sports Complex in Pontoon Beach, Illinois.
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