SAN DIEGO--Kraig Chiles scored a hat trick and Aaron Susi had two goals and two assists as the San Diego Sockers overcame a halftime deficit to beat the Turlock Express 11-7 at the Valley View Casino Center. A Sockers-PASL record crowd of 4,680 saw San Diego (9-0) outscore Turlock 6-1 in the second half after trailing 6-5 at intermission.
"Turlock came out with a lot of energy and put us on our heels tonight, they played very well," said Susi, the Sockers captain who posted his fifth 4+ point game of the season, "Good teams get wins even when they don't play their best, and we did that tonight."
The Sockers jumped out to a 4-1 lead on goals by Chiky Luna, Chiles, Brian Farber and Susi. Turlock rallied with four straight goals before halftime to take a 6-5 lead, Jesse Horta netting the go-ahead goal with 29 seconds to go before halftime. It was the first time the Sockers had trailed at the half since a 3-2 deficit in Tijuana on December 9th, 2011.
San Diego responded with a renewed defensive energy in the second half, limiting the Express (6-4) to no shots on goal in the third quarter. SDSU rookie Raymundo Reza tied the game with a long shot from behind the red line in the third quarter, and Anthony Medina's rebound header goal wtih 9:26 to play in the third put the Sockers ahead to stay.
"This looks like a team we may face in the playoffs," said San Diego head coach Phil Salvagio, "There were some nerves at halftime but we came out with great determination in the third quarter and got the win."
The Sockers may have been inspired in part by the apperance of several greats from their historic past. The team honored Brian Quinn for his upcoming induction into the Bob Breitbard Hall of Fame at the San Diego Hall of Champions as part of a special Alumni Night ceremony that saw over a dozen former Sockers stars return to their old stomping grounds. Quinn was given a special ceremonial star by the team in a halftime ceremony that included a rare appearance by indoor legend Steve Zungul.
Despite allowing their highest goal total against for the season, the Sockers extended a remarkable defensive streak, holding their opponent under double-digit goals for the 31st straight game. Chiky Luna and Brian Farber each netted two goals for the Sockers, while Eduardo Velez added a pair of assists. San Diego hits the road for three straight games as the month continues, next taking on the Las Vegas Legends on January 18th from the Orleans Arena in Vegas.