WICHITA, Kan. – Some nights, a goalie can stand on his head in the net and have nothing more to show for it than a migraine and another frustrating loss.
That's what happened to Missouri's Shane Owen, who stopped 30 shots and fought through more than eight minutes of third-period penalties and 30 overall Maverick penalty minutes Sunday in a 2-1 loss to the Thunder at Intrust Bank Arena.
“Shane was great tonight; he did everything he could to keep us in that game,” Mavericks coach Scott Hillman said after his team fell to 22-11-2. “Wichita gives us fits. We've lost to them five times in a row now, but you can't fault Shane any way tonight and our PK (penalty kill) unit was outstanding (shutting down Wichita on nine power-play opportunities).
“A bounce here or there, or a call here or there, and who knows. We have a lot of young guys on this team who are getting some valuable experience in games like this. They don't want to have this feeling again, and we'll work on some things this week to look and get better results next weekend.”
The Mavericks not only lost the game, they lost defenseman Dave Pszenyczny for a three-game suspension as a result of a hit to the head on Wichita's Tomas Klempa in a 4-3 overtime loss Saturday night at the Independence Events Center.
Upon video review the CHL ruled that Pszenyczny made contact to Klempa's upper body, which follows criteria for an illegal check to the head. Klempa was not injured by the hit and continued to play for the remainder of the game.
It's Pszenyczny's third suspension of the season, and the league considers the 28-year-old veteran a “repeat offender.” Hillman and the team were told of the suspension moments after they got off the bus in Wichita shortly after 3 p.m. Sunday.
“Chezy gets suspended, so we're down a man again, and the boys responded well,” Hillman said, as forward Evan Vossen again stepped in to play defense for the Mavs. “We hit the post late in the game for what would have been a game-tying goal, and we lose a goal when the officials determine that Matty's fight (Matt Stephenson) – our first fight in five games – took place before our goal.
“Those things happen, but they seem to be happening a lot to us. We have some players who have made some bad decisions this season, but I've never seen anything like the number of suspensions we have had this season.”
Pszenyczny has been suspended three times (nine games), Colt King twice (10 games) and Stephenson once (one game).
“We're battling through some things and we didn't get any bounces today,” Owen said. “We're going to turn this around. It would be different if the boys weren't working, but they're working hard out there.”
Rookie defenseman Anders Franzon opened the game with a goal at 3:18 of the first period. It then appeared the Mavericks had taken a 2-0 lead on a Rob Kleebaum goal, but the officials ruled that Stephenson's fight with Wichita’s Dustin Donaghy started seconds before the goal and it was disallowed.
Wichita's Tomas Klempa knotted the game late in the first period, and CHL Player of the Week Jon Booras scored what proved to be the game-winner, flicking the puck into the back of the net as Owen was on the ice fighting for a rebound with just 46 seconds left in the second period.
The Mavericks picked up three points in three games over the weekend with a Friday win at Tulsa, a 4-3 overtime loss to Wichita Saturday and the loss Sunday. Entering Monday's games Missouri was in third place with 46 points, trailing Rapid City and Allen, which have 50 each.
“We hoped for a six-point weekend, and it didn't happen,” Hillman said. “But it was not a lost weekend. We got three points and we go on from here.”
MAVS SIGN DEFENSEMAN: The Mavericks signed defenseman Evan Zych, bringing the roster count to nineteen (17 skaters, 2 goaltenders).
The 6-foot, 211-pound defenseman played five games with the Mavericks during the 2012-13 playoffs. Prior to that, Zych spent four years with Holy Cross College, where he accumulated one goal, 25 assists and 84 penalty minutes.
He made his season debut Sunday afternoon in Wichita.