Come-from-behind win extends lead on Rush
By Bill Althaus
It's good to be King – Colt King.
The Missouri Mavericks veteran forward scored with just 45 seconds left in regulation to knot the score at 4-all Tuesday night at the Independence Events Center.
The Mavericks, after a scoreless overtime, then got shootout goals from John-Scott Dickson and Andrew Courtney and a flawless performance by goaltender Shane Owen to take a 2-0 advantage in the shootout en route to a 5-4 victory over the Rapid City Rush.
The first-place Mavericks gained a point on the Rush in the Central Hockey League standings with the come-from-behind win. They improved to 38-16-2 on the season, (78 points) while the second-place Rush fell to 36-20-2 (74). Had the Rush won in regulation, they would have trailed Missouri by just one point.
Missouri grabbed a 3-0 lead early in the second period, but the Rush charged back with two goals in the second period and two more in the third to grab a 4-3 lead.
“When Chezy (Dave Pszenyczny) scored to make it a 3-0 game early in the second period, I think we quit playing as offensively and aggressively as we had earlier in the game,” said Eric Castonguay, whose team-high 27th goal gave Missouri a 1-0 lead early in the first period.
“This is a game we have to learn from. We have to learn that even when we have a lead, we can't quit playing the aggressive style of hockey that helped us get the lead. Thank goodness for Kinger's goal. This would have been a tough one to lose – especially since we're leaving right after the game for Brampton (where the Mavericks will play Thursday, Friday and Sunday).”
The near-sellout crowd of 5,480 had little to cheer about in the second and third periods as it appeared the Rush would claim their sixth-straight win. After third-period goals by Riley Weselowski and Anthony Perdicaro, the Rush led by one as Missouri's Sebastien Thinel and the Rush's Bobby Preece were called for roughing with 1:19 left in regulation.
That left each team with four skaters on the ice. With 1:08 left, Hillman pulled Owen and replaced him with a fifth attacker.
“We had a makeshift power play that worked,” Hillman said. “This is one you have to learn from. We came out strong and made too many mistakes – and didn't play our game – in the second period. But we will take this win and the points.”
Matt Stephenson and Dickson fired shots on goal late in the game and King took a rebound and swatted it past CHL Goalie of the Week Tim Boron to tie the game at the 19:15 mark and send the crowd into a frenzy.
“We got away from our game until late in the third period,” said King, a former Rush standout who helped the team win the CHL championship in 2010. “My goal was simple – textbook, really. But it came at the perfect time.
“I felt like someone was going to score. I'm just glad we were able to send it into overtime and the shootout.”
Owen stopped all four shots in the shootout while Dickson and Courtney continued their shootout excellence.
“I think it's just a frame of mind,” said Dickson, who had two goals in an early season shootout that went 12 rounds. “I just keep practicing the game shot every day in practice. Our guys are so familiar with it, they stop it all the time.
“But I read Boron and anticipated what he was going to do and was able to score. It was a big goal, but what about Shane in the shootout? He didn't give them anything.”
Courtney, who scored the second shootout goal, added, “This win is so huge. We needed it. We lose this game and we lead them by a point. Now we have a little breathing room. They've played two more games than we have, so we have the advantage there, and now we have to go to Brampton and take care of business.”
Mathieu Gagnon scored his second goal as a Maverick – on assists from King and Dickson – to give Missouri a 2-0 lead in the second period.
Owen stopped 25 of 29 shots on goal to win his league-high 31st game.