Newspaper Story

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By Terry Bigham, The Dallas Morning News
Published March 2, 1988

reprinted with the permission of the Author.

The Sidekicks have always contended that defense gave them the MISL championship over the Tacoma Stars last season. And Tuesday night in the 1987 finalists' first meeting at Reunion Arena this season, the Sidekicks' defense still proved to be the difference.

The Sidekicks' penalty-killing team stopped three Tacoma power plays and scored a short-handed goal in a 6-1 victory over the Stars before 6,877 fans at Reunion (16,824 capacity).
Former Stars forward Godfrey Ingram sparked the offense with two goals -- including an overhead kick for a goal -- and former Stars goalie Joe Papaleo stopped 14 shots as the Sidekicks won their ninth consecutive home game.

"You have to give credit to the defense,' Papaleo said. "Not to Joe, not to Godfrey, because without their support, there is no way we could have held them to one or scored six goals. It turned out like a nice storybook ending, but the bottom line is the Sidekicks won.'

The Sidekicks (20-20) came out running to put the second-highest scoring team in the league on defense for the first quarter. After two minutes, Ingram made a steal off defender Joe Waters at the Sidekicks' red line.

Ingram broke toward the right corner to put a shot through the legs of Bernie James and past Stars goalie Mike Dowler for a 1-0 Sidekicks lead over the Stars (19-20).

"I went forward and got half a yard on Bernie James and let it go,' Ingram said. "I don't think Mike Dowler could see it until too late because Bernie was right in front.'

At 13:35, Victor Moreland was called for the first of three two-minute penalties the Sidekicks committed in the first half. That actually set up the turning point.

The Sidekicks gained possession 25 seconds into the Stars' power play and pressed forward. With Kevin Smith staying back deep for the Sidekicks, defender Mike Powers had a choice of sending a pass to Wes McLeod up front or pushing it back to Smith to kill the penalty.

Powers opted for McLeod and sent a long pass to the right corner. The ball bounced high off the boards and over Stars midfielder Charlie Falzon. McLeod, with his back to the goal, spun and placed a left-footed shot past Dowler for the short-handed goal.

"I was just going in there to hold the ball,' McLeod said. "Falzon ran too close to the wall. It bounced off nicely, and I just turned and whacked it.'

The penalty-killing unit wasn't through for the first half, however. At 2:24, David Stride was called for tripping Steve Zungul. At 6:14, Moreland was put in the box for encroachment, but the Sidekicks killed both penalties to preserve the 2-0 halftime lead.

"They were looking to see if I was breaking or if Wes was breaking,' Eddie Radwanski said of the last two Tacoma power plays. "If you have their power play thinking about it, it takes away their effectiveness.'

The 2-0 lead lasted until 1:37 remained in the third quarter. Stride beat Dowler with a shot from deep in the left corner.

Tacoma's Peter Ward broke up Papaleo's shutout when Zungul found him on the far post at 3:31 of the final quarter. But the Sidekicks responded at 8:50 when Ingram beat Ralph Black down the left side and hit Mark Karpun, breaking in from midfield, with a perfect pass. Karpun scored his 26th goal for a 4-1 Sidekicks lead.

The Stars put Neil Megson in as a sixth attacker after Karpun's goal, and Radwanski responded at 11:23 by beating Megson on a one-on-one play.

At 12:47, McLeod's shot from the right side was blocked into the air by Megson. Ingram, with his back to the goal, did a bicycle kick to end the scoring.

"I'm happy to win,' Ingram said. "I guess it means something to beat Tacoma, because they've got good players. It's good to win the game. That's as far as it goes.'