The last time the Lazers played the Kansas City Comets was during a hasty rebuilding of the struggling Los Angeles club. The Comets won by 10 goals, 12-2, the Lazers' biggest margin of defeat ever.
The teams met again Friday night, and the Lazers, who since have added four new players (and six in all since Keith Tozer took over as coach), looked much better. But due in part to an unfortunate call, the Lazers were beaten, 6-3, before a crowd of 4,125 at the Forum.
Leading, 3-2, on a late third-quarter goal by Chris Chueden, the Lazers (8-26) were hurt by a bad call by the goal judge.
Greg Ion opened the fourth quarter by blasting the ball off the top of the Comets' crossbar and it clearly landed across the line, but there was no ruling.
Had the goal been allowed, it would have given the Lazers a 4-2 lead. Instead, former Lazer Cacho went the other way with the ball and scored to tie the game at 3-3.
With the score still tied well into the fourth quarter, Kansas City forward Damir Haramina scored his second goal of the night, this one from 12 feet, to give the Comets a 4-3 advantage.
Later, Gino Schiraldi and Jan Goossens added empty-net goals, making the Comets' seventh consecutive win look easier than it really was. Goossens' goal with three seconds left extended his scoring streak to 33 games.
Leading, 2-0, going into the second half, the Lazers let up enough to enable the Comets (19-17) to catch up, which they did on third-quarter goals by Schiraldi and Haramina.
"We try to play man to man," said Tozer. "We did that and were effective, but got away from it for three or four minutes and they caught up."
The Lazers were clearly the better team, both offensively and defensively, in the first half as they consistently beat the Comets to the ball and kept the pressure on the Kansas City defense.
Don Ebert put the Lazers ahead, 1-0, mid-way through the first quarter when he took his own rebound off the board and beat Comet goalie Ed Gettemeier from just in front of the net. It was his seventh goal in as many games for the Lazers.
Adam Topolski then made it 2-0 with just over a minute left in the first quarter when he broke toward the Comets' goal on a Lazer free-kick and drilled the ball into the net.
In the second quarter, the Lazers slowed their offensive attack but didn't let up on defense. The Comets had just six shots in the half.