TULSA, Okla. – For one period Friday night at Tulsa, it appeared the Missouri Mavericks were going to claim their second consecutive lopsided victory on the road.
Coach Scott Hillman's squad defeated St. Charles 6-1 Wednesday, and scored three quick goals in the first period Friday against the Oilers.
But when the final buzzer sounded, it was John-Scott Dickson's power-play goal in the third period that gave the undefeated Mavericks a 4-3 victory.
“We had 14 skaters out there tonight, and I can't tell you how proud I am of them,” Hillman said by phone after his team improved to 5-0 – with all the victories coming on the road. “If we had another road game, well, I don't know what would happen.
“The boys need to be welcomed back home Saturday night by the best fans in the CHL. We need to feed off our fans' energy because the opener will be our third game in the past four nights. We're so thankful it's at home and we know the Events Center is going to be sold out.”
Mike Ramsay scored an even-strength goal just 1:28 in the first period to give Missouri a quick 1-0 lead. Matt Stephenson and Eric Castonguay followed with power play goals and Missouri had a 3-0 lead and a world of confidence.
“You want to get the early lead on the road,” Hillman said, “especially against a team like Tulsa. But you don't want to give up three goals and go into the third period with the score tied 3-all.”
Second-period goals by Ben Gordon and Eric Tallent cut the Oilers' deficit to 3-2, and Adam Pleskach's goal just one minute into the third period knotted the score.
But Dickson scored the Mavericks' third power play goal two minutes later and goalie Joe Howe stopped the last 18 Tulsa shots to preserve the win.
“We had three shots on goal in the third period and JSD got the big goal to give us the lead,” Hillman said. “Howe did a great job keeping the puck out of the net for most of the third period. This was just a nitty, gritty hockey game – the kind you love to win at home or on the road – but especially on the road.”
Howe stopped 37 of 40 shots. Trevor Kell had two assists and Ramsay and Stephenson each finished with a goal and an assist.
“Mike Ramsay played his best game as a Maverick,” Hillman said. “All the boys played well. We don't have Kinger (Colt King) or Chezy (Dave Pszenyczny) and the boys are raising their level of play. They want to win for those great team leaders (who were suspended after defending their teammates in a fight-plagued 4-1 win at Arizona last Saturday).
“I know how disappointed they are about missing the three games – especially our home opener – but we're going to do all we can to get three wins while they're serving their suspensions.”