After a 4-1 loss to the Kalamazoo Wings Wednesday, the Kansas City Mavericks didn’t need any extra motivation.
But they had it.
And they had Mason McDonald and Co., and that was enough to claim an exciting 4-3 come-from-behind victory over visiting Kalamazoo in a fight-filled Star Wars Night at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena.
There were 90 minutes of penalties, a goalie fight in which McDonald raced to the far end of the rink when a Wings player and Kalamazoo goalie Joel Martin double-teamed Troy Donnay, and Mike McMurty’s game-winning goal with just 1:47 left to thrill the vocal crowd of 4,124.
“We didn’t have to say a word to the team before the game, social media took care of that,” said coach John-Scott Dickson, referring to a video of Wings defenseman Eric Kattelus doing the moonwalk after scoring a goal in Kalamazoo’s win on Wednesday. “We expected it to get chippy out there, and it did.
“But I am so proud of our guys. We get down 3-0 early in the game and fight back to tie it and then win on McMurty’s goal. A win like this – with our three goals in about two minutes and Mason standing up for his teammate – that’s the type of win that really pulls a team together.”
The Wings scored three quick goals in the first period and began to taunt the Mavericks when captain Tyler Elbrecht took off his gloves. He finished the game with 24 minutes in the penalty box.
“This was a big win, a win you can take a lot of pride in,” said Elbrecht, who could not shake hands after the game because of the bloody knuckles on both hands. “Mason goes down and takes care of business when they’re teaming up on Troy and I was so proud of him. We were all proud of him – that kind of rallied the team.”
The Wings had just scored a power-play goal when things got out of hand down at near the Kalamazoo goal. Donnay was mixing it up with a Kalamazoo player when Martin got involved in the skirmish.
“I saw that and just took off,” said Mason, who stopped 23 of 26 shots on goal. “They’d just scored and I was PO’d and took off down the ice. I was pretty winded when I got down there, but I think I held my own (against Martin). I mean, there were two of their guys on one of our guys and I just went off.
“Looking back on it, maybe it wasn’t the smartest thing to do, but I’m glad I did it. We were able to come back and get a big win.”
Goalie Tyler Parsons, who has started most of the Mavericks games this season, hopped out on the ice after the fight thinking McDonald would be ejected.
“I was surprised when Mason wasn’t kicked out of the game,” Parsons said, “but man, did that fire us up. The guys were going nuts on the bench. He fired up the whole team.”
The 12-9-0-0 Mavericks tied it up with a three-goal burst in the second period as Hunter Smith scored at 14:22, Jared VanWormer scored at 15:24 and Smith came back with his second goal at 16:08.
“Yeah, I don’t score a lot of goals,” said Smith, who has four goals this season, “but I was able to get those two greasy goals in front of the net. When we tied it, we all knew we were going to find a way to win.”
The winning goal came late as McMurtry slipped the goal past Martin to send the home crowd away happy.
“I had that breakaway (attempt) earlier in the period and was really mad at myself for not scoring,” McMurtry said. “So it was really satisfying to score the game winner – especially in a game like that.”
The Mavericks finished with 48 penalty minutes and a world of confidence.
“We need to carry the energy from this game over to our game Saturday,” Dickson said, referring to the 7:05 p.m. game against the Quad City Mallards at SEC Arena. “Winning back to back games at home would be great.”
Saturday is Teddy Bear Toss Night, with fans encouraged to bring teddy bears to toss on the ice after the Mavericks score their first goal. The teddy bears are then donated to local charities.