The loss to the Turlock Cal Express was like a punch in the mouth to the San Diego Sockers.
They hadn’t dropped a season opener since the 2013-2014 season, yet the Express stunned the Sockers at Pechanga Arena with a 7-6 victory. Head Coach Phil Salvagio cited poor practice the week up for the loss.
San Diego put their noses to the grindstone and were on the warpath as they hit the road. Unfortunately for the opposing Tacoma Stars, they just happened to be in the way of an angry Sockers team.
After a goal was taken away from Brian Farber in the first-quarter, Tacoma’s Micheal Ramos flicked a shot past Boris Pardo for the first goal of the game. An own goal by the Stars erased their one-goal lead with credit of the goal going to Travis Pittman, who missed last week’s game due to injury.
After multiple missed opportunities against Tacoma, Kraig Chiles came back with a vengeance. On a power play, the captain threads the needle between Danny Waltman and the bottom right post for a goal. Only a few minutes later, Chiles deked out the younger Ramos to score his second goal of the game.
Despite Nick Perera’s second-quarter goal, the Stars just couldn’t keep up with a Sockers squad that had welcomed back Eddie Velez, Taylor Walter Bond, and Pittman back into the fold. Bond provided an assist for Slavisa Ubiparipovic’s first goal in a San Diego uniform, a third-quarter strike that was the go-ahead goal for San Diego.
San Diego still had some anger to vent out, evidenced by an earlier yellow card to Salvagio and tension building between the two rivals. San Diego scored three more goals over the rest of the game, including Ubiparipovic’s second goal of the season. Brandon Escoto and Farber drilled the last two shots to shut down the Stars on their own turf with a convincing 7-3 victory.
San Diego is now in fourth place in the Western Conference with a 1-1 record. They’ll get some time off before welcoming the Ontario Fury, who will be playing in their season opener, to Pechanga Arena on December 13th.