Bigham The Dallas Morning News
Published April 17, 1986
Republished with the permision of the author
When Sidekicks defender Doc Lawson was announced to the crowd before the Wednesday night's playoff game, he held up a stick from which dangled a stuffed parrot.
From the right side of the Strikers' goal, Caskey shot to the near post. Lettieri blocked the shot but could not control and the ball trickled underneath the Strikers goalie. Tatu knocked in the loose ball for his second goal of the series.
Dallas had only two power-play attempts in the first two games but got two consecutive chances in the second period. At 7:24, Jan Goossens was called for tripping and 9:18 later, the Strikers committed their sixth team foul and had two men in the penalty box for 17 seconds.
"They got a little help from outside (the referees),' Lettieri said. "We were leading in fouls every quarter. It seemed everything we did, they blew.'
The Sidekicks could not capitalize on the two-man advantage but did score during the second power play.
Tatu, in the penalty area, chested down a high shot off the glass and passed to Louie Nanchoff on his left. Nanchoff's shot from 20 feet hit high off the plexiglass, but Tatu volleyed the rebound past Lettieri for his second goal and a 2-0 Sidekicks' lead at 9:52.
"We realized we had to win or it was vacation time,' said Tatu. "The team played magnificent. Everyone was so determined tonight.'
Dallas had numerous scoring opportnuities in the second half but could not convert until Lawson scored with 5:40 left. Lawson beat Lettieri with an 18-foot shot from the right side on a 3-on-1 break.
"The first goal was important because it took the pressure off,' Sidekicks coach Gordon Jago said. "But the third goal was really the difference. If they score it, the game is tight. The third goal took the pressure off and put us a little beyond their reach.'
The Strikers pulled Lettieri and put David Byrne in goal as a sixth attacker after Lawson scored. Just more than a minute later, Nanchoff beat Byrne and Chris Dangerfield to a loose ball at midfield and scored an empty-net goal from 50 feet.
The Strikers outshot 28-5 during the first three quarters, took 14 shots to the sidekicks' five in the final period. Thompson Usiyyan's shot from 18 feet beat Sidekicks goalie Krys Sobieski with 2:25 left to keep the Strikers from being shut out.