With 50 seconds left in a nail-biting, high-anxiety 3-2 victory over the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees at the Independence Events Center Saturday night, the Missouri Mavericks’ Achilles heel surfaced.

With 50 seconds left in a nail-biting, high-anxiety 3-2 victory over the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees at the Independence Events Center Saturday night, the Missouri Mavericks’ Achilles heel surfaced.


The Killer Bees already had a man advantage when they pulled goaltender Juliano Pagliero, giving the visitors a 6-on-4 edge.


“Was I concerned at that point?” quipped Mavericks coach Scott Hillman. “Why should I be concerned? The last three times we faced a two-man disadvantage we allowed a goal, so why should I be concerned?”


Hillman sent Derek Pallardy, Simon Watson and rookie Mike Wakita out on the ice, and they did a stellar job for 40 seconds.


“We knew (Darcy) Campbell had the hot hand, so I made sure to stay in front of him,” said Pallardy, who starred on both ends of the ice as he also scored two goals.


“We weren’t going to give them any kind of clean shot. There was no way we were going to let them tie the game up in the last minute.”


With just 10 seconds left in the game, Zac McClellan somehow got off a shot that was headed to the top left corner of the net.


Mavericks goaltender Rob Nolan somehow got a glove on the laser beam, stopping play.


Nick Sirota and Ray DiLauro then joined Pallardy on the ice for the closing 10 seconds and that determined trio made sure the Killer Bees couldn’t sting the hometown team as the boisterous crowd of 4,931 counted down the final seconds to victory.


“The guys were so amazing tonight,” Nolan said, “and the crowd was really into it. It just makes you want to stop everything. They got a couple of goals, but Pally had the big night and we were able to get a weekend sweep – which was just what this team needed.”


The Mavericks had lost two in a row before hosting back-to-back games against Rio Grande Valley, as Missouri earned four points and gained some much needed confidence.


“Just what the doctor ordered,” said team captain Carlyle Lewis, who scored the game-winning goal in a wild 5-4 come-from-behind victory Friday night.


“We wanted to get four points this week – and we needed two wins against Rio Grande to do it after we lost our first two games. They were must-win games, and we won both of them. Everyone played great.”


The win Saturday gave the Mavericks 20 points on the season and finds them in second place in the Turner Division, just three points behind No. 1 Colorado.


“This was a determined team this weekend,” Hillman said. “There were no excuses. We hadn’t played well in our two losses and you could see the guys refocus and re-energize. Now, we’re back to two games over .500 (8-6-2) and near the top of our division, and that’s where we wanted to be 16 games into the season.”


After a slow start, Dominic D’Amour got the Mavericks on the board first with a power play goal on a shot from the point off a pass from Olivier Filion.


The Mavs poured it on for the remainder of the period as Pallardy buried a pass from Simon Watson to put the Mavericks up 2-0. Walter Wintoneak, the rookie who had a hat trick Friday night and four points in two games, was credited with an assist on the goal.


Just under two minutes into the second period, Pallardy ripped a rebound past Pagliero for his second goal of the night. Lewis was credited with an assist on the goal, along with Mike Berry.


“That was my first two-goal game with the Mavs,” Pallardy said, “and it’s funny, when you get two goals everyone says, ‘If you’d have had one more, you’d have had the hat trick.’


“I wasn’t thinking about the hat trick, I was just happy to score two and get the win.”


With the Mavericks up 3-0 and time slipping away, the Killer Bees’ Campbell recorded another power play goal. All three of the Killer Bees’ power play goals in their last two games with the Mavericks have come with a 5-on-3 advantage.


Rio Grande Valley made things interesting 1:30 into the third period, as a McClellan goal cut the Bees deficit to 3-2.


But that was it for the Killer Bees offense as Nolan and the Mavericks stood tall the rest of the night.


Nolan finished with 26 saves on 28 shots. Pagliero finished the night with 29 saves on 32 shots as well.


The Mavericks hit the road this week as they visit the Texas Brahmas Friday and then play at Tulsa Saturday.