Two third-period goals, just 50 seconds apart, helped the undefeated Rapid City Rush claim a come-from-behind 4-3 victory over the Missouri Mavericks Friday night in a highly anticipated battle of the unbeaten.
The Mavericks, 8-1-0, brought a perfect record to Rapid City and trailed 2-0 going into the final period when Eric Castonguay scored on a power play at 4:58 to cut the deficit to 2-1. Andrew Courtney then knotted the score at 2-all with a second power-play goal at 6:16.
Things were looking up for the Mavericks when rookie defenseman Anders Franzon gave Missouri a 3-2 lead on a short-handed goal at 9:00.
That's when the Rush showed why they are off to a 10-0-0 start as Winston Day Chief scored on a power play to knot the score at 3-all at 15:00 and just 50 seconds later, Eric Giosa scored an even-strength goal to give Rapid City the victory.
“Our boys are not very happy right now,” Mavericks coach Scott Hillman said by phone following the emotional loss. “I'm looking forward to see how we come out and play tomorrow night, because this team started the season 8-0-0 and they feel like the world ended today with this loss.
“I can promise you we will come back strong tomorrow night (against Rapid City at 8:05 p.m.), and I can't wait to see how the boys respond.
“We made some mistakes, but they are mistakes we can clean up. The boys showed a lot of heart, going down 2-0 and coming back to take that lead in the third period. They're disappointed in the mistakes we made tonight. We're all pleased we can come back tomorrow night and play the Rush again.”
At the end of the game, there were a few skirmishes as the players left the ice.
“Tomorrow will be intense,” the coach said. “And I believe that will benefit our team. Our guys are angry, and as a coach you like to see that type of intensity.”
Shane Owen, who went into the game with a league-best 1.32 goals against average, faced 46 shots and came away with 42 saves. It was the first time this season he has allowed more than two goals in a game.