The Milwaukee Wave scored twice in a two-minute span of the second period to open up a close game en route to a 6-2 win over the SeaWolves at Silver Spurs Arena. The loss was Orlando’s second in a row, as the team was missing play-makers Thiago Freitas (knee) and Victor France (hamstring) and that played right into the hands of the defensively strong Wave.
Despite Gordy Gurson’s brace, the SeaWolves fell to 6-7 on the season and 1-1 vs. Milwaukee after dropping the game to the East’s best team. Milwaukee improved to 14-3 to strengthen its grip on the South Central Division.
The game began with few decent chances and a lot of cautious play in the middle third.
Mario Alvarez of the SeaWolves forced a good save with a blast in the first minute that was stopped by Wave goalkeeper Josh Lemos. Edwin Rojas had a chance to put Orlando on the board first but saw his shot in close blocked by the Wave’s Andre Hayne in the sixth minute.
The Wave then turned things around and scored on a counter attack a minute later. A long ball up the wing found Ian Bennett who blasted a tight angle shot over Rainer Hauss at the near post, firing Milwaukee to a 1-0 lead.
Milwaukee played a physical game and SeaWolves were hitting the deck all over the field. The Wave were content to take fouls and scored the second goal after one such restart. A sloppy pass was picked off by Drew Ruggles, who easily beat Orlando goalkeeper Rainer Hauss, who was well off his line due to his team seemingly having secure possession. The Wave nearly made it 3-0 moments later but Bennett fired just wide during an odd-man rush.
Orlando’s best opportunity of the first quarter was a low shot by Luiz Mota that Lemos got a piece of and it was cleared just in front of the goal by the Milwaukee defense. Seconds later, Hauss made a huge 1-v-1 save on Robert Renaud.
The Wave led 2-0 after one period, with each team firing five shot attempts.
Milwaukee laid back more in the opening minutes of the second quarter and it allowed the SeaWolves to pressure the Wave’s goal. As a result, Orlando recorded nine of the first 10 shots of the second period.
Orlando nearly got on the board in the fourth minute of the second period. Richard Schmermund fired toward goal on a set piece from the top of the circle. Lemos made a sprawling saveand the rebound popped out to Lewis Neal on the right side along the boards. Neal’s effort on the rebound was denied from the tight angle.
Gurson got the SeaWolves on the board with 9:33 to play in the first half. Taking a Joshio Sandoval pass off a corner kick, Gurson blasted a bullet through the hands of Lemos and into the net.
The Wave responded to the Orlando goal by holding more possession, slowing the game down, and looking for cracks in the SeaWolves’ defense. On defense, the Wave continued to press whenever the SeaWolves had the ball and it led to a big moment in the game.
Edwin Rojas was forced to pull back a Wave player after a lazy Hauss pass nearly sent Milwaukee in alone on goal. A penalty was given as well as a two-minute penalty to Rojas. Max Ferdinand tried to lay off a back pass on the penalty and Johnny Mendoza broke it up for Orlando. Unfortunately, Ferdinand scored moments later on the man advantage to make it 3-1 off a pass from Bennett. The Wave’s two-score lead was restored.
Hayne made it 4-1 less than a minute later and the rout was on with 2:55 to play in the half.
The SeaWolves were able to limit any further damage in the first half, although they were not able to threaten the Milwaukee goal the rest of the way either. Orlando led in shots (14-11). but the Wave defense blocked six of those 14 attempts. The Wave were called for seven fouls to Orlando’s six, but it was Milwaukee going 1-for-1 on the power play and never going down a man.
Orlando SeaWolves Head Coach Tom Traxler was visibly upset after the first half.
“It wasn’t good. We need to be better,” he said on the YouTube broadcast. “We need to stop shooting ourselves in the foot. We need to stop doing dumb things.”
Orlando swapped goalkeepers to start the second half, sending Piotr Sliwa on for Hauss and he was forced to make a point-blank stop just seconds into the third quarter.
Bennett scored from outside the Orlando zone just 3:54 into the third to make it 5-1 on a wicked shot that Sliwa got a good look at but couldn’t stop. From that point on, it was only a matter of how bad the beating would end up being.
Lemos denied Osvaldo Rojas’ flicked header just shy of nine minutes into the third on one of Orlando’s few chances. Mario Alvarez put the ball in the net moments later but the whistle had gone for a ticky tack foul off the ball to nullify the Orlando goal.
Milwaukee threw Orlando a bit of a lifeline late in the third. Ruggles knocked Gurson down in the attacking zone and the referee awarded a penalty and put the SeaWolves on the power play. Gurson hit the right post on his penalty and seconds later Sandoval blasted a shot off the top of the crossbar on the ensuing power play. Lewis Neal then had a gaping wide goal but a defender got there a half step before the former Lion and knocked it away at the last moment. Milwaukee killed off the penalty and seconds later, a backheel flick went inches wide for the ‘Wolves.
Sliwa made a good one-handed save on Ferdinand in the final minute of the period to keep the score from getting more lopsided prior to the fourth. Orlando led in shots (18-16) but the Wave had increased the lead by one more after three, at 5-1.
Another chance went wanting for Orlando early in the fourth as a carom off the boards popped out in front. Gurson got a foot on it but it slipped right into Lemos’ body and he smothered it.
Orlando then squandered a second power play after Chino gave Gurson a two-handed shove from behind and was shown to the penalty box.
Marcio Leite added a sixth goal for Milwaukee at the 8:19 mark, deflecting a Ferdinand cross between Sliwa’s legs.
Things got chippy late with new signing Derek Huffman and Guilherme Veiga each getting a blue card with 2:22 to play. Then Lemos took out Naranjo on an Orlando 3-v-1 break and put the SeaWolves on the power play with 1:59 to play. A penalty was also awarded since the foul was in the box. This time Gurson scored on the penalty to make it 6-2.
Naranjo got a blue card with just under a minute to go. Milwaukee passed it around and killed off the remaining time to close out the win.
The SeaWolves will try to halt their two-game skid quickly, as they’re back in action Saturday night at home against the Florida Tropics at 7:05 p.m.