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Sockers Too Much for 1 Man : Despite Lettieri, Losing Streak Ends in Minnesota, 6-4

January 15, 1987|DAN STONEKING

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Tino Lettieri did it all Wednesday night and it still wasn't enough as the Sockers beat the Minnesota Strikers, 6-4.

Consider Lettieri's contributions to an evening during which the Sockers finally held on to a lead and got goals from six different players to end a two-game losing streak.

Lettieri, the Strikers' goalkeeper, stopped a shot he never saw. He stopped a penalty shot--well, sort of. He was a beauty contest judge. He made a succinct, postgame analysis. He appealed to his teammates in a a pregame pep talk.

No wonder the guy was tired.

"Nobody must have listened to me before the game," Lettieri said.

"I told our guys before the game not to be fooled by San Diego's 8-8 record. That was the old San Diego team out there tonight. When those guys want to play, they can play, and they wanted to play tonight."

The postgame analysis?

"They had three power-play chances and scored two goals," Lettieri said. "We had three and scored none. We scored on a penalty shot and they got one on a penalty kick. In even-strength situations, we were even."

The shot he never saw? That came from long-time buddy Branko Segota in the fourth quarter, which San Diego opened leading, 4-2, after being outshot, 12-2, in a shaky third period.

"I saw Branko get the ball and start to wind up," Lettieri said. "But then someone moved in front of me and I lost it. I just threw my hands up. I never saw it until it came off my elbows."

It was only a few seconds later, on a San Diego power play, that Hugo Perez was called for pushing Gregg Thompson down on a breakaway, and the Strikers were given a penalty shot.

Minnesota's Thompson Usiyan faked Socker goalie Zoltan Toth right, then moved around him to the left to score and cut the Sockers' advantage to 4-3 at 5:13. But 23 seconds later, Julie Veee knocked a Perez rebound in and the Sockers again had a two-goal cushion.

Minnesota's Chris Dangerfield got the Strikers within 5-4 with his ninth goal of the year at 6:03.

But at 8:41, Striker Ken Fogarty was called for pushing Segota down and the Sockers got their penalty shot.

Socker Coach Ron Newman told Perez to take it. Perez, who had scored his 14th goal of the season in the first quarter to erase a 1-0 Minnesota lead, obliged.

Sockers 6, Strikers 4 San Diego 1 2 1 2--6

Minnesota 1 0 1 2--4

FIRST PERIOD: 1. Min, O'Hara (4) (Usiyan), 1:52. 2. SD, Perez (14) (Veee), 7:35 (pp). Penalty--Willey, Min (elbowing), 5:45.

SECOND PERIOD: 3. SD, Quinn (2) (Hirmez), 1:08. 4. SD, Crow (1) (Quinn), 8:51. Penalty--Veee, SD (pushing), 12:45.

THIRD PERIOD: 5. SD, Namdar (2) (Clavijo), 3:59. 6. Min, Thompson (3) (Usiyan), 10:28. Penalty--SD bench, served by Ruotolo (sixth foul), 11:22.

FOURTH PERIOD: 7. Min, Usiyan (7), 5:13. 8. SD, Veee (8) (Perez), 5:36. 9. Min, Dangerfield (9) (Hudson), 6:03. 10. SD, Segota 14, 8:41. Penalties--Lettieri, Min, served by Kinsey (handball), 4:09; Perez, SD (pushing), 5:13; Fogarty, Min (pushing), 8:41; Lettieri, Min, served by Kinsey (tripping), 8:41.8.

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