MILWAUKEE - Coach Giuliano Oliviero had to be happy as his team put together a full defensive performance in a match against the Harrisburg Heat that had playoff-seeding implications on the line. It seemed like a playoff game in the sense that neither team wanted to show their hand too much which led to a defensive low-scoring game.
"I think the biggest positive to take out of tonight was our defensive effort and only giving up three goals," said Head Coach Giuliano Oliviero. "Best we’ve done all season long and proud of the guys for that. It was big, important and that’s what we’re going to build off of going into our next game against Kansas City."
It was the Wave who got on the board first as Javier Steinwascher electrified the Wave crowd after he caught a shot on the half volley and smashed it past the Heat goalkeeper. It took until the next quarter to get the next goal as the Wave doubled their advantage as Andre Hayne used his frame to outmaneuver a Heat defender to find just enough space to turn and score his third goal of the season.
Harrisburg made some adjustments at halftime and was able to level the game with two goals from Malcolm Harris and Dominic Francis. However, a power-play goal from Andrew Wiedbach who scored a cracking goal off the volley put the Wave back up at the end of the third quarter.
The Wave showed their ability to defend throughout the whole game, but after Ian Bennett’s goal gave them a bit of cushion it was Harrisburg who was able to snatch one back and bring the Wave’s lead down to one with just over three minutes remaining. It was the solidity on defense over the last few minutes with Harrisburg opting for the sixth attacker that led the Wave to a crucial victory and a big boost to their playoff hopes.
"Offensively we created a lot more chances than scoring four goals," added Oliviero. "But at the end of the day to take down a well-coached team like Harrisburg is a feather in the cap."
The Milwaukee Wave are back in action Saturday night, Feb. 19 at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena against the rival Kansas City Comets.
First kick is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. from UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena.