Segota Is a Big Pain for Comets : His Goal, 3 Assists Carry the Sockers to 4th Victory in Row

A sprained ankle limited Branko Segota’s shooting. A strained groin hampered his running.

Imagine what he might have done Friday night had he been healthy.

All Segota did was assist on the Sockers’ first three goals, scored one and set up a penalty kick in an 8-2 victory over Kansas City at Kemper Arena.


The victory was the fourth in a row for the third-place Sockers (12-9). The last-place Comets lost for the 11th time in 13 games and fell to 6-14.

“I couldn’t really zig-zag out there,” Segota said. “The other guys ran well.”

Neither team looked inspired in the first half, and Kansas City led, 2-1, after goals 53 seconds apart late in the second quarter by Greg Ion and Kia. The Sockers then scored the next seven goals, including five in the fourth quarter.

The key goal was scored by Kevin Crow with 1:04 left in the first half. The teams were playing one man down when Segota, while being taken into the boards by Kim Roentved, got a pass off to Crow, who blew past defender Chris Kenney.

After putting Kansas City goalkeeper Alan Mayer down with a fake, Crow scored into the open net for a 2-2 tie.

“We were winning for most of the first half and deserved to be,” Crow said, “and after playing two bad minutes, we were losing. It was an important time to score.”

Added Socker Coach Ron Newman: “That goal brought us into the dressing room with the right attitude. We weren’t playing quite as sharp as we should be, we didn’t look chirpy. I was worried if we were ready to go. Branko’s ankle was hurting, and we switched everyone in three (lines).”

Former Comet Cacho broke the halftime tie with the only goal of the third quarter. Cacho posted in the penalty area, took a pass from Segota, and pushed a shot past Mayer, who had over-committed.

The Comets, now 0-11 in games in which they trail after three periods, never had a chance after that, thanks to Segota.

Segota, who played a target forward to reduce his running load, caught the Comets on a breakaway, drawing Mayer out of the penalty area. Mayer was called for an intentional handball at 4:14.

Because Mayer was the last defender back, a penalty kick was awarded, and Zoran Karic converted for a 4-2 lead 3:15 into the quarter.

The Comets threatened to get back into the game with a flurry that included shots by Jan Goossens and Barry Wallace, but goalkeeper Victor Nogueira saved the first with his right hand and second with his left.

Then Segota, in the middle of four Comets, scored on a blast from about 35 feet out, making it 5-2.

“I caught them sleeping,” Segota said.

The rout was on. But why did it take so long for the Sockers to get going?

“Some of the players are sore, there are lots of aches and pains,” Segota said. “It’s hard to get motivated. We’re lucky we got the goal before halftime. Then we had a power play (that carried over from the second quarter), so they didn’t have have an opportunity at the start of the second half.”

Brian Quinn made it 6-2 at 8:14 of the fourth quarter, and at that point, the Comets lifted Mayer in favor of sixth-attacker Roentved. They shouldn’t have bothered.

The Sockers soon had a 3-on-1 break against Roentved. As Kia hustled to help, Chris Chueden’s centering pass intended for Segota went off Kia’s foot and into the open net. It was Chueden’s first goal of the season.

Socker Notes

The Sockers return to action next weekend with games at Wichita on Friday and at Dallas next Saturday before returning home on Feb. 3 against Kansas City. . . . With his three assists, Branko Segota tied Jorgen Kristensen for fourth on the MISL’s all-time assist list with 271. . . . The Sockers, who had killed 13 consecutive penalties, now have allowed two consecutive power-play goals. . . . Goalkeeper Victor Nogueira, who entered the game as the MISL’s leading goalkeeper, lowered his goals-against average to 2.43.