Matt Finn is on a roll that even he can’t explain.
The Missouri defenseman scored the game-winning overtime goal in Saturday night’s wild 7-6 come-from-behind win over Wichita.
He enjoyed that so much, he took his game up a notch Tuesday night in a 2-1 win over the Thunder, scoring the game-tying goal with just 1:50 left in the third period and the game-winner in overtime with just 0:00.2 showing on the clock.
“Crazy, huh?” said a grinning Finn as he was congratulated by his teammates. “It’s a funny game. The other night, I was so happy and never really thought it would happen again.”
Finn said he entered the ice from the bench with less than a minute left but did not know there was so little time left when he shot in the winning goal.
“When it looks like it’s going to a shootout, Carter (Verhaege) and Dane (Fox) get the puck off a faceoff and suddenly, it’s on my stick,” Finn said of his eighth goal of the season. “I knew I came in with 48 seconds left in overtime, but I had no idea there was less than a second left when I scored.
“That’s my first game-winner like that. It was pretty exciting. No one wanted to go to a shootout, we were glad to see it come to an end in overtime.”
The Mavericks finished their nine-game home stand with a 7-2-0-0 record and improved to 21-19-2-5 on the season. The win left the Mavericks just five points behind the Alaska Aces for fourth place and the final playoff spot in the ECHL’s Mountain Division, and just one point behind fifth-place Utah.
It wouldn’t have been possible without the tying goal, which coach John-Scott Dickson mapped out in a timeout.
“Coach (John-Scott) Dickson called a great timeout, drew up the play and we went out and executed it to perfection,” Finn said of his goal with 1:50 left in regulation on assists from Verhaeghe and Fox.
The win brought the Mavericks' record in the Visit Independence, Visit Wichita Cup series to 5-4-0-0. The winner of the series receives a trophy at the end of the season and $2,000 for its local youth hockey organization.
“Our goal was 8-1 on the homestand, which was pretty lofty considering we were under .500 when the homestand began,” Finn added. “Right now, 7-2 is looking pretty good, especially the way we won the last two games.”
After a scoreless first period, the teams started play in the second period at four skaters a side with coincidental minors to Jacob Doty and Landon Oslanski carrying over from the first.
Wichita’s Louick Marcotte spun a shot on net from the bottom of the left wing circle that beat Eamon McAdam to the near post just 33 seconds into the period. That would be the end of the offense for either team until Finn took over in such dramatic fashion.
“It was a crazy game,” said McAdam, who stopped 33 of 34 shots Tuesday after being bombarded with 53 on Saturday. “Finner took care of things at the end. When he took the shot at the end of the overtime I looked up at the clock and saw there was a little bit of time left, so I knew it was good.”
Dickson did the same thing.
“I don’t know, it was something like :00.3 or :00.4 – I just know if they wouldn’t have called it a goal I would have probably been suspended,” Dickson said. “This was a good homestand. We overcame a lot of mistakes to win Saturday then came out and played a solid game tonight.
“I was very happy with the defense and Finner got it done for us offensively.”