Behind Vince McCluskey’s hat trick in his first game this season, the Tacoma Stars broke a 5-5 tie with three goals in the fourth quarter to knock off the Turlock Express 8-5 at the accesso ShoWare Center on Friday night.
Robert Palmer scored what proved to be the game winner early in the fourth, slotting one past Turlock keeper Santos Arteaga, and the Stars improved to 2-2 on the Major Arena Soccer League season.
Ivan Campos scored four times to lead the way for the Express.
Joey Gjertsen continued his outstanding form putting the Stars up 1-0 in the first quarter. Gjertsen added to his goals total in the third quarter, leveling the game 4-4 after Turlock took a 4-3 lead into the locker room at halftime. Nine minutes later, McCluskey scored his second of the game when he gathered a ball off of the boards from Derek Johnson to give the Stars a 5-4 lead.
But Campos answered with his fourth goal of the game just 30 seconds later and the two teams went into the fourth quarter tied up 5-5.
It was all Stars in the fourth. Derek Johnson hit Robert Palmer with a perfect pass on a dead sprint, and he finished with a rocket past Arteaga to give Tacoma a 6-5 lead. McCluskey got his hat trick with a pure effort play that saw him win a ball against the boards, keep it past multiple defenders, and work himself into position to put a little touch on a header that just barely inched past the line.
Alex Megson – celebrating the birth of his daughter just days before – finished it all off with a goal with 4:48 left to play.
Joseph Cairel got into the act scoring his third goal of the season in the second quarter while Matthew Germain got a goal for the Express to round out the scoring.
Tacoma, which moved to 2-2 in the Pacific Division, will take a short break for Thanksgiving before playing division leaders San Diego on Friday, Dec. 1 at the ShoWare Center. First kick between the West Coast rivals is 7:35 p.m.
Tickets are available by calling 1-844-STARS-84 or visiting the Stars online at tacomastars.com.
Follow the Stars on Twitter (@TacomaStarsSC) or liking the team on Facebook (FB.com/TacomaStars).