Terry Bigham News Correspondent The Dallas
Published June 14, 1987
REPRINTED WITH THE PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR
The Tacoma Stars' power-play offense, which had scored in nine consecutive playoff games, was the main reason the Dallas Sidekicks were behind, 0-2, in the MISL Championship series, said Sidekicks goalie Krys Sobieski.
But Saturday night the foursome of Kevin Smith, Wes McLeod, Mike Powers and Mike Uremovich stopped all three Tacoma power plays and, when the Stars tried a sixth attacker, Smith scored a 150-foot goal as the Sidekicks won their first game of the series, 5-3.
"They're good at it, no matter how we play,' Smith said of the Stars' power plays. "But we were a little more together, they didn't have so many easy shots tonight. We stopped Preki from the outside but they got some shots on it.'
"I think you could see we were moving much faster than before,' Sobieski said. "They move the ball very quick but we always had somebody to cover.'
Before a sellout crowd of 16,824, Dallas cut Tacoma's lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven championship series. Game 4 is set for 7:35 p.m. Sunday at Reunion Arena and more than 5,000 tickets are available.
The Sidekicks held the lead on four occasions, taking it for good when Tatu, who had two goals and two assists, scored with one second left in the third quarter.
Then at 8:56 of the final quarter, Dallas was called for its sixth team foul and, after Sidekicks goalie Krys Sobieski stopped a point-blank shot, the Stars called a timeout to use Ralph Black as a sixth attacker for the final 34 seconds of the power play.
Twenty-four seconds later, Powers pressured Preki into turning the wrong way, Smith stole the ball along the left boards and shot from 20 yards behind the Sidekicks red line.
"I came and stole it off Preki and saw Ralph on our red line,' Smith said. "So I thought I would just try and curl it in.'
Black could not run the shot down and the Sidekicks had their first championship series victory.
"I didn't want to celebrate to quick,' Smith said of the shot. "I knew I hit it well but I didn't know how quick he was going to get back.'
Stars coach Alan Hinton said the Sidekicks did nothing different on Saturday. The Stars just missed their chances on the power plays.
"We created good opportunities,' Hinton said. "This game is a game of inches. Our power plays were good and it was only inches that stopped us. Dallas didn't do anything different. They might tell you they did, but they did exactly the same in defending the power play.'
A unsportsmanlike conduct call on Stars' defender Val Tuksa put the Sidekicks in a power play at 7:04 in the first quarter and Mark Karpun scored on a low shot at 8:20. It was Karpun's eighth power-play goal, tops in the playoffs.
The Stars had their first shot at a power play goal, of which they've had a record 24 in the playoffs two minutes later, but they came up empty.
"It definitely helps,' said Uremovich. "You figure in the first game they scored four power-play goals and in the other they scored the fourth goal of the game on a power play for a 4-2 lead. We made very few mistakes compared to the first and second games.'
The Stars' tied the score, 1-1, in the second quarter when Godfrey Ingram's shot from 40 feet deflected off David Stride and past Sobieski. Tatu was called for a dissent immediately following the goal but again the Stars were stopped.
The Sidekicks then regained the lead when Tatu beat Stars' defender Neil Megson down the right side, shot from 30 feet and Victor Moreland redirected the ball in from five feet.
But 1:39 later, Steve Zungul received a pss to the left of the Sidekicks' goal, held the ball long enough to allow Megson make a run and passed into the penalty area. Nobody followed Megson and he easily scored from 10 feet for a 2-2 halftime score.
The back-and-forth scoring went continued into the second half, with the Sidekicks getting the edge in the final second of the third quarter.