Shane Owen proved to his teammates and a sold-out crowd at the Independence Events Center what he was made of Saturday night.
The Mavericks goaltender overcame a shaky start to lead Missouri to a 6-3 victory over the Allen Americans.
The win gave the 28-12-2 Mavericks 58 points and helped them slide past the Americans and Rapid City into first place in the Central Hockey League standings, and Missouri stayed there despite a 3-0 road loss to the Wichita Thunder Sunday.
On Saturday, Mavericks forward Mike Ramsay had two goals for the second night in a row and his linemate Sebastien Thinel added three assists to help the Mavericks climb out of an early 2-0 hole thanks to two Allen goals Owen would rather forget.
Jonathon Zion scored just 22 seconds into the first period and Darryl Bootland added a second Allen goal less than two minutes later as it appeared the night might belong to the visitors from Texas.
“The first goal, well, it just slid under my stick,” said Owen, as he re-enacted the slow-motion goal in the Mavericks’ locker room. “I wanted to curl up in a ball and hide in the net. Thank goodness they don’t have CHL blooper reels, or that goal would be on there forever.
“Bootland hit the second goal into the net out of the air. After that, I thought to myself, ‘OK, that’s enough.’ I knew the boys would back me up and there’s no team I’d rather be with in a tough situation like that than this team.
“When we scored the first goal I knew we were going to come back. I just knew it.”
Ramsay scored his first goal two minutes after the Bootland score to cut the deficit in half, and Andrew Courtney’s power-play goal three minutes into the second period knotted it at 2-all.
Allen’s Jamie Schaafsma then gave the Americans their final lead of the night before the Mavericks roared back on an Eric Castonguay goal to tie the game as it headed into the third period.
Ramsay scored on a quick power play to make it 4-3 and Colt King’s power-play goal gave Missouri a 5-3 lead and some breathing room. For the second night in a row, Rob Kleebaum scored an empty-net goal to account for the final score.
“This is a veteran team; we’re not going to panic after we get down 2-0 early in the game,” said Ramsay, who has become one of the team’s most consistent offensive threats. “We knew Shane was going to give us a great effort in the net, and we were going to do anything we could to get enough goals to win the game.”
The Mavericks were 3 of 8 on power plays while the Americans were 0 for 4, including a five-minute span following a major boarding violation against Courtney.
“The special teams were the difference tonight,” Hillman said. “I am so proud of the job they did, especially during that five-minute PK (penalty kill).”
Owen stopped 21 of 24 shots to pick up his league-leading 23rd win.
“I don’t know if I really deserved the W tonight,” Owen said. “Let’s just make this a team win.”
THUNDER BLANK MAVS: The second trip to Wichita in a three-day period was certainly not as successful as Friday night’s 4-1 Missouri victory.
Thunder goaltender David Brown stopped all 24 Missouri shots as Wichita claimed a 3-0 victory Sunday at Intrust Bank Arena.
“We just didn’t have the energy we had Friday night,” Hillman said after his first-place team dropped to 28-13-2. “The boys were tired – three games in three days at three different sites, although we did visit Wichita twice. They just didn’t have the energy they had Friday and Saturday.
“We were hoping for a six-point weekend, and we finish with a four-point weekend, a win over Allen and first place by ourselves. Now, it’s time to regroup, work hard in practice and get ready for another big three-game weekend (Friday at Allen, home Saturday against the Americans and home Sunday against Quad City).
The Mavericks played Sunday’s game without Courtney, who sat the game out at the request of the league.
“There was no official ruling from the league and we hope this is just a one-game suspension,” Hillman said. “We just have to wait and see like everyone else. It was tough not having Courts in the lineup.”
Owen was in the net for the Mavericks and allowed two goals on 24 shots. The final Wichita goal was an empty-netter in the final minute.