Kent Patterson will never forget his first win in the net for the Kansas City Mavericks.
Neither will the standing-room-only crowd of 5,800 on New Year’s Eve Sunday as the 28-year-old newcomer helped fans ring in 2018 with a victory.
The Mavericks were down 2-0 early but rallied to take a 3-2 lead only to see Tulsa knot the score at 3-all with just six seconds left in regulation.
But Patterson and the Mavericks rose to the occasion in overtime and the shootout to earn a 4-3 victory and set the stage for a big weekend where the 18-16-0-1 Mavericks play host to Central Division rivals Kalamazoo and Quad City at 7:05 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
“It was an electric atmosphere for sure,” Patterson said after a light workout Wednesday morning at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena. “It was special, one of those games you’re going to remember for a long time. It didn’t start the way I’d hoped and I didn’t like it going into overtime and the shootout, but this is a gritty group of players and we managed to find a way to win.”
And Patterson entered the postgame locker room to find the team’s badge of honor, a military style helmet with the word “GRIT” stenciled on the side, in his locker – along with the game puck.
“That was a nice little surprise,” said Patterson, who signed with the Mavericks Dec. 19 after Mason McDonald was called up to the American Hockey League’s Stockton Heat.
Patterson means even more to his new team since it was announced Wednesday that Tyler Parsons, the Calgary Flames’ second-round pick (54th overall) in the 2016 NHL Draft, was also called up to the Heat.
“We expect to see Mason back sometime in the near future,” Mavericks coach John-Scott Dickson said, “but right now, Kent is our only goalie and he’s done a great job. That win Sunday was special. It was a great year to end 2017 and hopefully will signal a good start to 2018.”
Parsons, who has been sidelined with a lower body injury, had a .907 save percentage, 3.08 goals-against average and a record of 9-8-0-1 for the Mavericks this season.
He was named ECHL Goalie of the Week for Nov. 13-19 after winning four games, all on the road, while posting his first professional shutout to guide the Mavericks to an undefeated road trip. In that span, Parsons stopped 135 of 141 shots faced for a .957 save percentage.
While Parsons and McDonald appear to be a part of the plans for the National Hockey League parent club, the Calgary Flames, Patterson is just happy to be playing the game he has loved since his youth, growing up in Plymouth, Minn.
Patterson started this season playing seven games for a pair of teams in the Southern Professional Hockey League, the Fayetteville Marksmen and Pensacola Ice Flyers. He also spent some time back home in Minnesota coaching a youth team.
“Then I got the call – the call all players hope for,” said Patterson, a former University of Minnesota standout. “I talked with John-Scott and was excited to come to Kansas City. I played here a few times (2012-13 and 2013-14 with the old Central Hockey League’s Denver Cutthroats) and remembered what a great fan base the Mavericks had.
“Then I played a few games in Wichita last year (along with Rapid City and Atlanta) and was hoping to get back in the ECHL. Who knows what the future holds – but I’m excited to be here and I can promise our fans and this organization that I’m going to give it everything I have every time I step out on the ice.
“I love the character of this team, the way they’re put together. They never give, and that was evident with the win Sunday.”