PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. – The Missouri Mavericks received a brilliant performance from goaltender Shane Owen, who stopped 41 of 42 shots, to help his team even its playoff series against the Arizona Sundogs with a 3-1 victory Friday night at Tim's Toyota Center.
The Mavericks used power play goals by sizzling Andrew Courtney and Mike Ramsay to give Owen all the support he needed and rookie Anders Franzon scored an empty-netter with 27 seconds left in the game to secure the victory.
"The boys buckled down tonight and played great hockey for 60 minutes," Owen said after the Sundogs outshot the Mavericks 41-27. "It was just an awesome game, the kind of game I knew we would come out and play."
The series, which is tied at two wins apiece, resumes at 9:05 p.m. (CDT) Saturday in Arizona. The win Friday guarantees that the best-of-seven series will return to the Independence Events Center for a 7:05 p.m. game Tuesday.
Courtney has scored a goal in all four playoff games and has tallied a point in 19 consecutive games dating back to regular-season action.
Courtney scored at 8:08 of the first period to give Missouri a 1-0 lead. He was assisted by Sebastien Thinel and Eric Castonguay.
Ramsay then doubled the Mavericks lead with his second power-play goal of the series at 9:16 of the second period. Thinel and Matt Stephenson had assists.
"What I liked about the game was that we played strong for 60 minutes, we never let up," Thinel said. "Shane was unbelievable – as he has been all season – but he made some great saves tonight. We kept it simple, scored power play goals and evened the series."
While Owen stood tall in the net, his teammates provided plenty of support as Trevor Kell and Henrik Odegaard made diving blocks in front of the net to support the Mavericks goalie.
There was a brief, scary moment at 14:06 of the third period when Odegaard was pushed into Owen, who collapsed into the back of the net. Trainer Bill Murray ran out onto the ice, but Owen was fine, and play continued.
A brief skirmish followed the play and Colt King and Odegaard were sent to the penalty box. Two Sundogs were also sent to the box, so play continued five on five.
Tempers continued to flare throughout the final four minutes of the game, and former Maverick Matt McCready scored a controversial goal at 18:02 when the puck struck the crossbar and fell into the net behind Owen.
The goal was initially waved off, but after a review, it was deemed a goal and the score was suddenly 2-1.
With just under a minute to play, the Sundogs pulled goaltender Andrew Engelage, and Franzon scored an empty net goal. His first shot was blocked by McCready, but the rookie defenseman grabbed the rebound and buried it in the back of the net to secure the victory.