As Obi “Wan” Aduba skated off the ice following a two-goal performance on an electric Star Wars Night, he slapped high-fives, posed for a quick photo with giggling young fans and said, “The Force was with me tonight. It was with all the boys.”
Following last Saturday’s lifeless 3-0 shutout loss to the Allen Americans, the Mavericks returned to the Independence Events Center and played one of their finest all-around games of the season, getting two goals from Aduba, blanking the St. Charles Chill on four power-play opportunities and scoring two power-play goals in a dominating 6-1 victory.
“And don’t forget the hamburgers,” Aduba said, referring to the six-goal performance, which results in free hamburger coupons from Backyard Burger for fans. “The Force was with all of us – we need to have more of these Star Wars Nights.”
A vibrant sellout watched the Mavericks and Chill skate to a scoreless first period, as St. Charles got off just four shots to Missouri's 14.
“The defense was just outstanding tonight,” Mavericks coach Scott Hillman said. “And what about Obi scoring those two goals. You couldn’t have written a better script. The boys needed this one.”
Aduba backed those comments.
“We all expected to come out and play well tonight,” Aduba said, “because that’s what good teams do. You don’t want to linger on a loss, but you know you don’t want to feel like the way we’ve felt since getting shut out by Allen.
“We wanted a big win tonight to send our fans home happy for the holidays, and it makes for a much better break for us too.”
Sebastien Thinel put the Mavericks on the scoreboard at 19:41 of the second period when he deflected a bullet shot by Dave Pszenyczny past Chill goaltender Robert Moss.
“About time,” Thinel said, grinning, “I’ve had so many people ask me when they could get their 43-cent root beer floats. I was beginning to wonder too.”
When Thinel scores a goal, fans leaving the Events Center receive a voucher for the discounted treat – representing Thinel’s No. 43.
“This was a big win,” the team captain added. “We did not play well last game. We came out tonight with a lot of energy, and I think the Star Wars Night had something to do with that. It sure got Obi fired up.”
Rob Kleebaum later scored a power-play goal to give Missouri a 2-0 lead, but Kyle O’Kane then scored the Chill’s lone goal to make it 2-1 at 14:28.
Just 20 seconds later, the Force was with Aduba, who picked a Chill player’s pocket and scored on a crowd-pleasing unassisted goal that gave Missouri a 3-1 lead.
And the rout was on.
Evan Vossen scored on a power play at 18:06 to make it 4-1, and Aduba and Eric Castonguay scored in the third period. Castonguay’s team-high 12th goal came with the crowd chanting, “We Want Burgers!”
And he obliged.
“The boys can enjoy this one over the break,” Hillman said. “It was a pretty good night.”
Well, except for a costly slashing penalty by Andrew Courtney with just under two minutes left in the first period.
It resulted in a slashing major penalty, a game misconduct/ejection and likely suspension – which is something Hillman said the Mavericks cannot afford as they head to Rapid City for three games next week.
“We’re playing for first place and we go into Rapid City without Kinger (Colt King, who is sitting out a seven-game suspension) and Courts,” Hillman said, rubbing his temples. “Those games decide first place; when are our guys going to figure this out?
“It’s getting old. This one really hurts. The league will look at the tape and likely decide on a suspension sometime Saturday.”
Shane Owen starred in the net, stopping 23 of 24 Chill shots. The Mavericks finished with 44 shots and converted 2 of 5 power plays.