by Jim Fossell

 Kissimmee, FLA (November 30, 2018) – The St. Louis Ambush kicked off their 2018-19 MASL season with a heart-stopping 5-4 overtime shootout victory over the Orlando SeaWolves Friday night at the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, Florida.

The Ambush got on the board first when a shot by Mario Marcos deflected off a SeaWolves player and into the goal at 8:10 of the first quarter. For Marcos, it was his first goal as a member of the Ambush and it would be the lone one of the opening period, which ended with the Ambush on top 1-0.

RIGHT: Ambush Head Coach Hewerton (in black warmup) addresses the team during a time out Friday, November 30, 2018 at the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, Florida. (Photo by Kevin Fowler)

Orlando scored the equalizer when a SeaWolves player slammed into Ambush goalkeeper Casey Clark, taking Clark off his feet and giving Luke Boden a wide open goal at 1:23 of the second quarter. The Ambush seized a 2-1 lead at 6:11 when Antonio Manfut took a pass from JT Thomas and fired a rocket into the net, earning Manfut his first goal as a member of the Ambush. St. Louis increased their lead when Orlando goalkeeper Piotr Sliwa went down with an apparent leg injury, giving Marcos a clear path to his second goal of the contest at 11:57. The injured Sliwa was replaced in goal by Rainer Hauss. With no further scoring from either side, the Ambush enjoyed a 3-1 lead at halftime. The injured Sliwa was replaced in goal by Rainer Hauss.

One minute into the second half, Ambush midfielder Lucas Almeida earned a trip to the penalty box for kicking, giving the SeaWolves a power play. Gordy Gurson capitalized on the opportunity by scoring at 2:07 to shrink St. Louis’ advantage. Gurson’s tally was the lone goal of the period, which expired with the Ambush clinging to a 3-2 lead.

Orlando went on a power play when Ambush Assistant Coach Mark Litton was charge by the officials for pushing just 46 seconds into the final stanza. Lewis Neal’s power play goals for the SeaWolves came at 2:38 and knotted the score (3-3). The Ambush seized the lead (4-3) less than a minute later on Jerjer Gibson’s goal at 3:03. Former Ambush defender Dylan Hundelt took a long shot that Gibson tried to deflect off course with his head, but Gibson’s effort was in vain as the ball still found the back of the net at 10:43 to tie the match 4-4. Neither team was able to score in the remaining minutes, sending the duel into sudden-death overtime.

Despite numerous close-calls and nail-biting plays, neither team was able to put the game away during the 10 minute overtime period, resulting in the best-of-three shootout period. 

SeaWolves goalkeeper Hauss and Ambush goalkeeper Clark were on the spot as each would face three opposing players one-on-one. 

Pepe was the first to go for the Ambush, hitting the post with his shot. Former Ambush player Richard Schmermund then scored for Orlando, giving them an advantage. Antonio Manfut then scored for St. Louis, Tyler Turner missed for the SeaWolves, followed by a goal by Clayton for the Ambush, followed by a miss for Gordy Gurson. With the Ambush posting a 3-2 advantage in the shootout, they nailed down the 5-4 win in the game and opened the season in dramatic fashion.

The Ambush now embark on the second leg of their two-game Florida road trip as they journey to Lakeland to tangle with the Florida Tropics Saturday evening at 6:05 p.m. CST.  Following this weekend’s games, the Ambush play one more on the road before coming home to the Family Arena. On Saturday, December 8, the Ambush travel to Harrisburg to square off with the Heat at 6:05 p.m. CST at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Arena. The Ambush home opener is slated for Sunday, December 16 at 3:05 p.m. CST at the Family Arena.

Match: Orlando SeaWolves vs. St. Louis Ambush
Date: Friday, November 30, 2018
Venue: Silver Spurs Arena, Kissimmee, Florida
Kickoff: 7:35 p.m. EST, 6:35 p.m. CST
Attendance: 2,478

Box Score for Game Report
Orlando SeaWolves
011200 (1-2)
St. Louis Ambush
120101 (2-1)