ALLEN, Texas – Missouri Mavericks coach John-Scott Dickson could breathe a long, deep sigh of relief.
Darren Nowick’s overtime goal Monday afternoon at Allen Event Center lifted his Mavericks a 5-4 victory and helped them return from a two-city, three-game road trip with three points and some sorely needed confidence.
The Mavericks took the defending ECHL champion Americans Allen to overtime for the second time in less than 48 hours on Monday, but this time they came away with a big win after the Americans claimed a 4-3 victory Saturday night.
“The guys came out with a lot of energy – I really liked what I saw for most of the game,” Dickson said by phone after the Mavericks salvaged a road trip that began with a 7-5 loss Saturday night in Wichita but resulted in three points in two games in Allen. “They could have made excuses, and they didn’t. There was a lot of energy on the bench and on the ice. It was our third game in 72 hours, but you couldn’t tell it by the way our guys played. It’s a good win and sure makes the bus ride home a lot more pleasant.”
It nearly was disastrous for the Mavericks as they lost 3-0 and 4-3 leads in regulation.
The Mavericks jumped out to a 3-0 lead with a big first period Monday. Ryan Obuchowski started things early with a slap shot from the point that eluded Allen goalie Jamie Murray and put Missouri in front just 2:10 into the game. The goal was Obuchowski's third of the season and gave him four points in his last five games.
The Mavericks' power play then took over and generated a pair of goals to make it a three-goal advantage. Dane Fox, who finished with two goals and two assists, took a pass from Carter Verhaeghe and scored on a one-timer from the slot at the 11:56 mark. Verhaeghe earned another assist on Rocco Carzo’s power-play goal at 17:50, giving him his fourth multi-point game in six outings this season, and 13th in 26 games.
“Getting Verhaege back has been huge,” Dickson said. “I was impressed with a lot of guys on this trip. Carter played well, so did (Dan) Correale – he’s blocking shots and scoring some goals (Saturday in Wichita). The guys are responding, they’re coming around.”
Allen took advantage of special teams play in the second period to net a pair of goals and pull within one. Missouri was tagged with six penalties in the period, four of which led to Allen power plays. Eric Roy converted power play goals in 5-on-3 and 5-on-4 advantages just 22 seconds apart to make it 3-2.
“Those goals hurt,” Dickson said. “Just unacceptable – some of the same mistakes we have been making. But today, we were able to overcome them and get a win.”
In the third period, Allen's Gary Steffes took advantage of some open ice in front of Mavericks goalie Eamon McAdam's crease. Steffes one-timed a pass home for the tying goal at 5:52.
Missouri stole momentum back from the Americans, though, thanks to Fox finishing a rush for his 13th goal of the season at 11:41. Luke Juha, who had been out with an injury since before Christmas, made an assist on the 2-on-1 rush to put the Mavericks ahead again.
The Mavericks were unable to close out the win in regulation as Allen’s David Makowski sent a slap shot from the point past McAdam with 3:28 left in regulation.
In overtime, Fox posted his 20th assist of the season on Nowick’s 12th goal for the game-winner. The Mavericks improved to 14-17-2-4 and are in sixth place in the Mountain Division, two behind Utah for fifth and 11 behind Alaska for the fourth and final playoff spot.
McAdam claimed his fourth win of the season and second against the Americans.
On Sunday afternoon, the Mavericks battled the Mountain Division-leading Americans for 60-plus minutes Sunday afternoon, but came up on the wrong end of a 4-3 overtime loss at Allen.
The Mavericks found themselves down early in two previous losses, but at Allen, they scored the first two goals to take a 2-0 lead.
Verhaeghe, who had two goals and an assist the previous night in Wichita, stayed hot with a breakaway goal at 5:42. A little less than five minutes later, Correale and Fox set up Nowick's 11th goal of the year for the two-goal cushion.
That lead was short-lived, however, as Allen's Joel Chouinard scored just 15 seconds after Nowick. That swung momentum in host Allen’s favor as Derek Mathers and Chad Costello followed with goals just 54 seconds apart that put Allen ahead 3-2 headed into the first intermission.
The Mavericks tied it in the second period when Shawn Pauly tied up the Allen defense with his forecheck and the puck popped loose to Jacob Doty alone in front. Doty was able to squeeze a shot through Murray's legs for his fourth goal of the season at the 11:03 mark.
Nowick appeared to have scored the go-ahead goal late in the third period, but play was blown dead as the officials lost sight of the puck in a goalmouth scramble.
After a missed shot by the Mavericks in overtime, Costello collected the loose puck for a breakaway and scored to end it 1:10 into the extra frame.
Josh Robinson stopped 26 of 30 shots but suffered the loss.
MAVS FALL TO THUNDER: The Mavericks provided plenty of offense, but not enough to stop the Thunder as host Wichita rolled to a 4-0 lead and held on for a 7-5 victory Saturday night. The Mavericks dropped to 2-4-0-0 in the season series against the Thunder.
Correale put Missouri on the board at 14:07 of the second period to break Wichita's early surge. The Thunder, however, answered 20 seconds later to go back up by three. That goal chased Mavericks starting goalie McAdam and brought Robinson on in relief.
Correale, though, deflected in a Kevin Tansey blast to make it 4-2 at the 16:43 mark and give Correale the first multi-goal game of his pro career.
Zach O’Brien scored the lone goal of the second at the 8:38 mark for a 5-2 Wichita lead.
Verhaeghe scored a power play goal at 2:07 of the third period and Rocco Carzo followed 92 seconds later to pull the Mavericks within one. Verhaeghe then pounced on a loose puck atop the crease at 12:08 for the tying score.
The Thunder, though, turned a pair of Mavericks turnovers into goals, the second each for Vincent Arseneau and Ryan Rupert.
Robinson was the goalie of record because the Mavericks tied the game while he was on the ice. He took the loss with 24 saves on 27 shots. McAdam ended the night with 21 stops on 25 shots as Wichita outshot the Mavericks 52-47.