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Sockers' Gorsek a Hit at Home, Too : Goalie in Right Places at Right Times to Thwart Tacoma, 6-2

February 07, 1988|MARC APPLEMAN | Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — Goalkeeper Jim Gorsek sure liked the sound of cheering Saturday night.

Known as "The Road Warrior" because he has played 11 of his 15 games on the road this season, Gorsek put on quite a show at home.

While Gorsek kept the Sockers in the game, midfielder Branko Segota had two assists and two goals in the final 11 minutes to lead San Diego to a 6-2 victory over the Tacoma Stars in front of a season-high 11,239 fans at the San Diego Sports Arena.

With the score tied, 2-2, early in the final quarter, the Stars had a man advantage on a power play when Gorsek foiled Star forward Steve Zungul on two excellent scoring opportunities.

Gorsek raced across the goalmouth to his left to deflect a bullet by Zungul with 13:30 to play.

"I raced back as fast as I could and came flying across," Gorsek said.

A minute later, with the Stars still on the power play, Gorsek darted to his right to make a diving save on Zungul's shot from the top of the circle. "Jimmy kept them in the game," Zungul said. "He got the right position, his timing was perfect and he was there. He did everything right."

Gorsek made 9 saves on 20 shots, including two big saves on Zungul and Gary Heale in the third quarter, to raise his record to 12-3 and lower his goals-against average to 3.26, which is second in the league behind teammate Zoltan Toth's 2.90.

He has won nine straight, including six in a row on the road. At home, Gorsek is 4-0.

"I always like to play at home," Gorsek said. "Players are built up (excited) a little more. There's more pressure on you on the road."

The Stars will agree with that. They are 2-11 on the road. After playing at home Friday night and flying to San Diego Saturday, they appeared to tire in the final quarter.

And the Socker offense came to life.

Waad Hirmez volleyed a left-footer from 30 feet into the net for the game-winning goal at 4:16 of the final quarter.

The play started with Gus Mokalis heading the ball to Segota, who deftly flicked it to Hirmez, standing inside the arc.

"I made the run in the middle and hit it the first time," Hirmez said. "Thank God it went in."

Hirmez was particularly pleased with his game-winning goal because he was angry over a holding penalty called against him early in the fourth quarter.

He was called for holding Zungul on a play where it appeared that Zungul put on quite an acting job.

"I was not holding him," Hirmez said. "He just dove. That's cheating."

After the penalty, Hirmez, frustrated at the time, said he told Zungul he "would break his leg."

Hirmez's goal was the spark that ignited the Socker offense.

Brian Quinn scored an insurance goal for the Sockers at 8:24 on a left-footer from inside the box. Once again, the goal was set up by Segota, who hit Quinn with a centering pass while racing down the left side.

Segota, who was hounded by Star defender Neil Megson throughout the game, added two empty-net goals on long shots in the final three minutes.

"It was great the way we played," Socker Coach Ron Newman said. "It (the Socker offense) had to break sooner or later."

The Sockers outshot the Stars, 34-10, in the first three quarters.

San Diego led, 2-0, after the first quarter on Paul Dougherty's power-play rebound goal at 8:26 and a right-footer by Juli Veee at 11:01.

In a penalty-filled second quarter, the Stars scored on a power play tap-in by Heale at 2:36 and a goal by Peter Ward at 8:11. Each team was penalized twice for a total of four minutes in the quarter.

There was only one penalty called in the second half, against Hirmez, and all the goals were scored by the Sockers.

San Diego has won 10 of their last 11 and 15 of 17. They are 22-7 and lead the Stars by 7 1/2 games in the Western Division.

"Let's never say it's over," Zungul said, "but let's be realistic. They're far ahead in the race for the Western Division."

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