Two newcomers continue to play impressive roles for the Missouri Mavericks.
Behind the solid play of goaltender Steven Summerhays and the game-winning goal from Darian Dziurzynski, the Mavericks edged the Tulsa Oilers 2-1 Sunday afternoon at the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena.
Summerhays, who improved to 2-1 and lowered his goals against average to a microscopic 0.90, came within 2 minutes, 28 seconds of recording his second shutout of the season since joining the team after ECHL record-setter Josh Robinson moved up to the American Hockey League’s Springfield Falcons.
Dziurzynski scored his second highlight reel goal at 12:50 of the second period when he skated to the right of Tulsa goaltender Kevin Carr and made a backhanded shot to give Missouri a 2-0 lead. He was assisted by Jesse Root and Tyler Barnes.
“When you play with guys like Rooter and Barnesy you want to be your best because they make plays like that all night long,” said Dziurzynski, who had a spinning, 360-degree goal in his Mavericks debut in a 3-2 shootout loss to Wichita Friday at the SEC Arena. “This team is special – from the play of Summerhays, to the offense and the defense and the coach. Just an amazing group of guys.”
The Mavericks, who were the first to clinch an ECHL playoff berth Friday, improved to 45-7-3-2 (95 points) with the victory.
“The game had a playoff feel, and there’s a good chance we might open the playoffs against Tulsa,” Summerhays said. “The boys gave it all they had. Did you see that block (Bryce) Aneloski made at the end? It’s plays like that that make us the top team in the ECHL.”
With a sixth-skater advantage, the Oilers fired puck after puck at Summerhays in the closing 1:14. With three seconds left, Aneloski dove in front of a shot to make sure the Mavericks could skate off the ice with their sticks held high in victory.
“That’s just hockey,” said Aneloski, who downplayed his role in the victory. “Any good hockey player is going to do that for his team, especially in a one-goal game. We’ve already clinched our spot in the playoffs, but we’re still a hungry team. We’re playing for home-ice advantage and we want to go into the playoffs on a roll, with a lot of confidence. If we keep playing the rest of the season like we did tonight, we can do that.”
Zach Tolkinen gave the Mavericks a 1-0 lead on a 5-on-3 power-play goal with just 3 seconds left in the second period on assists from C.J. Ludwig and David de Kastrozza.
After Dziurzynski’s goal, Tulsa’s Connor Kucera scored a shorthanded goal at the 17:32 mark of the third to cut the Mavs’ lead in half.
FINN CALLED UP: Defenseman Matt Finn has been reassigned to the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Finn, 22, had seven goals and six assists in 22 games with the Mavericks this season.
The Mavericks have signed forward Alex Taulien, 23, to an amateur tryout contract. The 6-foot-4, 208-pound forward spent the past three seasons with Elmira College, posting 15 goals and 15 assists in 41 games.
MAVS TELEVISED FRIDAY: The Mavericks play the Oilers again at home at 7:05 p.m. Friday. The game will be broadcast live on KSMO-TV as part of the Mavericks’ “Friday Night Ice” series.
Friday night is also Military Appreciation Night. The Mavs will be wearing special military-themed jerseys that will be auctioned off after the game in sections 101 and 102, with proceeds benefiting Folds of Honor.
All military personnel are entitled to a $5 discount on any ticket in the arena except the loge and suite level. Military personnel must present a military ID to get the discount on tickets, which are available at the arena box office only. There is a limit of five tickets per ID.