Late Start Doesn’t Bother Sockers in 8-5 Victory Over Pittsburgh Spirit

Times Staff Writer

The Sockers were out late Saturday night.

Their game against the Pittsburgh Spirit started an hour later than normal because of an afternoon show at the Sports Arena featuring Alvin and the Chipmunks.

The little delay in getting their kicks didn’t appear to bother the Sockers, who defeated the Spirit, 8-5, before a crowd of 10,416.

The late start was especially to the liking of Branko Segota, who scored four times, and Hugo Perez, who had three goals for the Sockers.


San Diego was a little tardy in wrapping up this one. The Sockers established a 5-3 lead early in the fourth period only to allow the Spirit to tie it. But a closing burst of two scores by Segota and one by Perez sunk the Spirit.

It was the third straight win for the Sockers, who have also won 10 of their last 12 and 14 of their last 17.

The Sockers are 4-0 against Pittsburgh this year and 7-0 historically.

San Diego’s Steve Zungul, who had three goals and two assists in an 8-5 victory over Dallas earlier in the week, was limited to one assist.


Segota gave the Sockers a 1-0 lead with 8:31 left in the first period. It was his 44th goal of the year.

He had scored 20 goals in the 10 preceding games and was tied for third in the league in scoring. There was no more scoring until late in the second period when Cha Cha Namdar scored with 59 seconds remaining to give San Diego a 2-0 lead. Moments later Pittsburgh’s Dave Hoggan answered to make it 2-1 at halftime.

Socker goalkeeper Jim Gorsek, who entered the game with a scoreless streak of 41:39, extended his streak to 71:27 before permitting a goal. Earlier in the year he had a streak of 78:43.

Segota’s second goal, this one with 10:18 left in the third period, put the Sockers ahead 3-1. Zungul got the assist. This was Segota’s 19th multiple-goal game of the season. He scored four times against Los Angeles on Dec. 23.

The Spirit picked up a power-play goal on a Paul Child kick with 3:32 left in the third period. Child’s goal, his 22nd of the season, cut the San Diego lead to 3-2.

The Sockers got it back on a Perez power play point with 1:56 to go in the period, and it was 4-2.

Pittsburgh’s Dave McKenzie connected with 32 seconds left in the third period, reducing the San Diego lead to 4-3.

Perez scored again early in the final period for a 5-3 lead with the assist to Segota.


But, as was the pattern all night, the Sockers were not able to keep a comfortable margin for very long. Pittsburgh’s Stan Terlecki made it a 5-4 game less than a minute after the Perez score.

And the Spirit tied it with 8:25 to go on a score by Zeee Kapka.

Segota’s third score of the night, this one in a power play situation, put the Sockers ahead to stay, 6-5.

Segota wrapped up his big night with a fourth goal with 3:45 to play.

The win gave the Sockers a 17-3 record against teams with a sub-.500 records.

The Sockers close out a three-game home stand on Friday night against Wichita.