Temperatures outside the Family Arena were near freezing on Friday night.
But inside, things were just heating up.
When the St. Louis Ambush faced off against the Ontario Fury at Axius Field at the Family Arena, momentum was on their side. Coming off a big time upset victory over the previously undefeated Florida Tropics, the Ambush looked to make it two wins in a row at home as they took on Ontario in the first of two back-to-back games between the two teams. Ontario, meanwhile, were playing their first game of the season, and, due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, will not have any home games this season.
Ontario’s team is as well rested as can be. However, the injury bug has really taken its toll on the Ambush this season, with four players on the team dealing with injuries of different levels of severity, including losing forward Duduca Carvalho, who suffered a torn achilles tendon in last Friday’s game against Florida. Max Ferdinand, Sam Guernsey, Stefan Mijatovic, Wil Nyamsi, Paulo Nascimento and Richard Schmermund were all also unavailable due to possible Covid-19 exposure.
At the 8:54 mark, Howard Miller, Jr. scored the first goal of the game assisted by Tony Walls to give the Ambush a 1-0 lead. Unfortunately, less than two minutes later, Macion De Abreu was able to tie the game up for the Fury after causing a mix-up in the Ambush’s defense.
After one quarter, it was all tied up at 1-1, which was quickly broken when less than two minutes into the second quarter (13:40), Miller, Jr. scored his second goal of the evening, thanks to an assist from Axel Duarte. It was Miller, Jr. who was the dominant offensive force of the evening for the Ambush.
At the 10:19 mark in the second quarter, Juan Carlos Gonzalez was fouled, resulting in Ontario getting the ball in the Ambush’ zone. But goalie Brett Petricek would keep them out of the net saving multiple shots on goal in less than a minute span. And at the 3:22 mark in the second quarter, Felipe Silva gave the Ambush a 3-1 lead off a striking pass from Lucas Almeida.
For the majority of the first half, things were clicking on all cylinders for the Ambush as they carried that 3-1 lead into the second half. But after Greg Kranz was called for holding at the 11:42 mark, the Fury took advantage as Nestor Hernandez scored on an assist from Gonzalez at the 7:28 mark to make it a one-goal game. Not long thereafter, at the 4:52 mark, Ontario tied it up with a Robert Palmer goal.
The Ambush went on a power play at the 3:53 mark in the third quarter, and took full advantage just 43 seconds in with a Corey Adamson goal off an assist from Almeida to make it 4-3. The lead, however, wouldn’t last long as Franck Tayou tied it up with 26.2 seconds to go in the third.
A controversial foul call on J.T. Thomas negated a goal by St. Louis a mere 14 seconds into the fourth quarter, and led to a loud chorus of boos from the near 900 in attendance at the Family Arena.
Despite a valiant effort all game from Petrice during the final two minutes, kTayou was able to get one to slip through his hands to give Ontario the lead with just 56 seconds left to play. The goal turned out to be the game-winner, as they defeated the Ambush 5-4.
With the loss, the Ambush drop to .500 (4-4) and the Fury notch their first win of the season (1-0).
“It was a little sloppy than usual. Overall, it was a little sloppy,” said Petricek, who was named MVP of the game. “But it is what it is, and we look to get the win tomorrow.”.
Game two between the Ambush and the Fury will start at 7:05 on Feb. 6th.
Tickets for upcoming home games are available at the Family Arena box office or online at ticketmaster.com.