Tyler Parsons showed a sold-out crowd of 5,800 at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena why he is the top prospect in the Calgary Flames organization as the 20-year-old goalie starred in Saturday night’s 2-1 victory over the Rapid City Rush.
It was a game the Mavericks and Parsons both needed, after a sloppy 5-2 loss Friday night to the same team.
“It’s like we’ve talked about before,” said Parsons, who stopped 29 of 30 shots on goal, “sometimes you have to have a short memory. I didn’t play well Friday night and I wanted to come back and play well tonight for my teammates, our organization and our great fans.
“Every game is like a playoff game from here on out and I want to contribute. The guys did a great job tonight. It wasn’t just me, it was a great team win.”
The Rush took a 1-0 lead at 1:36 of the second period on a goal by Dante Salituro, but Eric Freschi knotted the score at 1-all at 6:24 of the same quarter.
For much of the third quarter, it looked like overtime was going to happen until Jared VanWormer ended a 1-for-20 Mavericks power play skid with a sensational backhanded goal against Adam Vay.
“We needed a goal and I saw an opening and flipped it into the net with my backhand,” VanWormer said. “The way Tyler was playing in the net, we needed to reward him with a win. And the crowd was amazing tonight. It’s great to play in a sold our barn and reward the fans with a win.”
Mavericks coach John-Scott Dickson, who was irate following Friday’s loss, was pleased with his team’s performance on Saturday.
“We wanted to get four points this weekend, but after the loss Friday we really needed to get these two points tonight,” Dickson said. “We still need to put three good periods together. We’ve been this Jekyll-and-Hyde team and I want more consistency. Parsons was outstanding in the net tonight and that’s what we’re going to need to see the rest of the week with Colorado (tonight) and Cincinnati (Friday and Saturday) coming to town.”
TWO RETURN TO MAVS: The Mavericks will have more offensive firepower this week with the return of forwards Mike McMurtry and Darren Nowick, who have been reassigned by the American Hockey League’s Stockton Heat and will be on the roster for tonight’s game against Colorado.
Both forwards started the season with the Mavericks before being called up to the team’s AHL affiliate.
McMurtry, 25, was called up to Stockton Jan. 5. At the time of his call-up, the Greely, Ontario, native led the Mavericks in points (32), goals (15) and assists (17) while he was second on the team in power play goals and game-winning goals.
The 6-foot, 194-pound forward remains the Mavericks’ scoring leader for the year despite missing in action for Kansas City since Dec. 23 (with an injury). He returns to the Mavericks after an eight-game tour with the Heat where he played on the team’s top power play unit and added one assist.
Nowick, 26, was recalled by the Heat Jan. 4. The Heat signee is third on the Mavericks in points per game this season with totals of five goals and nine assists in just 19 games.
The Long Beach, Calif., native is coming off his second stint in the AHL, returning to the Mavericks after recording three points in eight games with the Heat.
The 5-foot-10, 185-pound forward is in his second professional season, both with the Mavericks. He also received an AHL call-up last season with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, finishing 13 games with three goals and an assist.
KEY GAMES: This weekend’s games against Cincinnati loom large for the Central Division standings in the playoff hunt as the Mavericks and Cyclones face off for the second and third times this season.
Cincinnati enters the week three points behind Kansas City for the third playoff spot but with three games in hand while fourth-seeded Kalamazoo is one point behind the Mavericks with two in hand. Kansas City has already completed its season schedule with the Wings, going 3-2-0-0 against Kalamazoo, and has three games remaining against Cincinnati counting this weekend’s twin billing, which will conclude their season-long eight-game home stand.