Rafa Godoi scored his first goal of the season. (Photo courtesy of the Lancers)
HENRIETTA, N.Y. — Dominic Francis converted a first-half hat-trick and added an assist to lead the Harrisburg Heat to a 12-3 win over the Rochester Lancers in Major Arena Soccer League action at the Dome Arena Saturday night.
Harrisburg won its season opener while the Lancers dropped to 0-2.
William Eskay, Daniel Villela and Julian Escobar scored two goals for the visitors. Rochester’s Rafa Godoi, Michael Cunningham and Alex Harling connected for their first goals of the season.
The Heat grabbed a 3-1 first-quarter lead, scoring early and late. Eskay put the visitors on top only 1:47 into the match, beating goalkeeper John Ciavaglia, making his first MASL start.
Ciavaglia, however, did not last much longer as he suffered a shoulder injury on a freak player at 3:22 and was replaced by Christian Esposito.
The Lancers equalized at 1-1 at 7:19 at Godoi drilled a shot from atop the penalty area past goalkeeper Jesus Molina off a Cunningham feed.
Exactly a minute later Harrisburg retook the lead, 2-1 as Elton de Oliveira put home a Villela free kick at 8:19. With time winding down in the period, Francis tallied his first goal off a counterattack and a pass by Dylan Hundelt for a two-goal advantage.
Harrisburg continued its assault in the second period, scoring four more times. Francis, off a Jerjer Gibson feed, made it 4-1 at 2:25. before turning playmaker, setting up Escobar at 8:11.
With Lancers’ co-captain Anthony Rozzano serving a holding penalty, the Heat extended its lead to 6-1 as Francis scored off Tom Mellor’s free kick at 9:03. Villela closed out the first-half scoring at 13:02.
The Heat connected four more times in the third quarter behind Danny DiPrima (1:22), Gibson (3:22) after two fine point-blank saves by Esposito (23 saves), Eskay (8:22) and Escobar (2:40).
Rochester pulled one back at 8:40 as Cunningham tallied with a rocket from distance off a Rozzano corner kick past former Lancers goalkeeper and Brighton High School star Will Banahene, who came on at halftime.
Villela (9:16) found the net for the Heat in the fourth quarter before the Lancers’ Harling closed out the scoring off a Rozzano right-wing cross with 9.6 seconds remaining.
Prior to the game, Lancers Wall of Famer Francisco Escos kicked out the first ball as the honorary captain.
These two teams will tussle again next week at Heat will welcome the Lancers at the Farm Show Arena in Harrisburg, Pa. next Saturday at 7 p.m.
The Lancers return home for back-to-back games the last week of December. They will host the Heat again at the Dome Arena on Friday, Dec. 27 and playing the Baltimore Blast here on Saturday, Dec. 28. Both games kick off at 7 p.m. and will be televised on MASL.tv.