Jeremy Gottsch | harrisburgheat.com
The Harrisburg Heat were unable to retain a late lead for the second game in a row as they lost to the Chicago Mustangs 7-6. Lucio Gonzaga and Thiago Freitas each scored two goals for the Heat but that was not enough to get them a victory.
The Harrisburg Heat took control in the opening period. Five minutes into the 1st, Fernando Gatica scored on a laser of a shot that was placed in the top corner of the net. The rest of the quarter remained scoreless for both teams. Both the Heat and the Mustangs registered double digit shots in the 1st but were unable to find the back of the net. Heat goalkeeper Hugo Silva made a few diving saves to keep Chicago from scoring.
The 2nd period saw more offense from both teams. Each team scored two goals apiece in the period. Less than a minute in Lucio Gonzaga scored to put the Heat up by two. Two minutes later Osavaldo Rojas put the Mustangs on the scoreboard with their first goal of the game. Toward the end of the half the offense attack picked up again. With four minutes left to play in the period, Alexis Camerena scored to tie the game 2-2. Just when it looked as if the Mustangs were going to put in another goal, Elmo Neto stole the ball at midfield and set up Tom Mellor for the goal. Mellor hit a one-time that was drilled to the far corner of the net. The Heat went into halftime leading 3-2.
At half time the Heat honored longtime equipment manager Mike “Heavy” Butala by inducting him into the Heat Hall of Fame alongside Heat greats Richard Chinapoo, Jim Pollihan and John Abe.
Harrisburg’s offense went missing in the 3rd period as they were not able to find the back of the net. Camerna scored his second goal of the game late in the period to tie the game 3-3.
Gonzaga opened up the final period with his second goal of the game to put the Heat in the lead. The lead was short lived as Taylor Bond found the back of the net to even the game for the Mustangs. Midway through the 4th Thiago Freitas scored for Harrisburg to put them in the lead 4-3. Edwin Rojas scored the equalizer for Chicago with three minutes left to play as they once again evened the score. Just 10 seconds later Freitas found the back of the net for the second time in the period that put the Heat up on the scoreboard. Chicago then pulled their goalie to try and gain an advantage with an extra attacker and it worked. With a minute left in regulation, Efrain Martinez scored on a loose ball to tie the game 6-6.
Not even a full minute into overtime, Camerena put home the winning goal to complete his hat trick. This is the second night in a row in which the Heat surrendered the lead late in the 4th and lost quickly in overtime.
The Heat had 27 shots on goal in the contest compared the Mustang’s 29 shots. Hugo Silva had 22 saves while Chicago goal keeper Jesus Flores blocked 21 shots. Lucio Gonzaga had two goals on the night to bring his season total to 12 goals and 15 total points.
The Heat are on the road next Saturday, February 4th against the Florida Tropics. Harrisburg is back home February 24th as the Florida Tropics are in town. For tickets visit http://harrisburgheat.com/tickets/