• Tochkin, Mavericks prove they're not done yet

  • Kellan Tochkin found out just how quickly you can rise from the trash heap to center stage.

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  • Kellan Tochkin found out just how quickly you can rise from the trash heap to center stage.
    The Missouri forward scored the biggest goal of the season as his overtime game-winner lifted the Mavericks to a hold-your-breath 3-2 overtime win over the Rapid City Rush Wednesday night at the Independence Events Center.
    “It's about time I did something to help this team,” Tochkin said after he came off the ice to a standing ovation. “I've been garbage. I was a healthy scratch Saturday at Rapid City, and I've never been a healthy scratch in my life.
    “When that happened, I respectfully wanted to shove it in coach’s face tonight. All I've thought about was being a scratch and not being able to help my team win the first game of this series. This was a big win, a huge win – we had to win tonight, because if we go down 3-0, it's tough to come back. I wanted to prove to Coach that I should be out helping my teammates on the ice.”
    The Mavericks cut the Central Hockey League playoff series deficit in half and now trail 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.
    “Down 3-0 in a best-of-seven is just about impossible to come back from,” Tochkin added. “Now, we have new life. I got the perfect pass from Chezzy (Dave Pszenyczny) and was able to get it past Boron. It's about time. I was pretty much garbage for the first 60 minutes. It feels good to help the boys get a win.”
    Tochkin's power-play goal came just 3:50 into the overtime period, setting off a wild celebration on the ice and among the 3,708 in the stands.
    Rapid City goaltender Tim Boron entered the game with a 0.50 goals-against average and .985 save percentage (stopping 66 of 67 Maverick shots) in postseason play. He stopped 27 of 30 shots in the Game 3 loss.
    “You can't be perfect for an entire series,” said former all-star forward Andrew Courtney, who wiped out 1-0 and 2-1 deficits Wednesday night with dramatic goals in the second and third periods.
    His first goal came at 6:49 of the second period as he hopped out of the penalty box, took a perfect pass from CHL MVP Sebastien Thinel and flipped the puck past Boron.
    “It's funny,” Courtney said, “I told the guy in the penalty box I was going to score. I had the same opportunity in Rapid City and didn't score, so tonight I knew I had to do something.”
    The Mavericks had some work to do at the end of the second period to keep it tied. A cross checking penalty to Evan Vossen and a five-minute major for board on Pszenyczny 30 seconds later at the 15:48 mark gave the Rush a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:30 and a power play for the rest of the period. The Mavericks, though, killed both off.
    Page 2 of 3 - The Mavs then failed to convert on a power play of three-plus minutes to start the third period after Rapid City’s Dn Gendur picked up holding and roughing minors at the end of the second. Damian Surma then put the Rush ahead with a goal at the 8:29 mark of the third period.
    Just a little more than two minutes later, Courtney tied it again on assists from Pszenyczny and Kenton Miller.
    Courtney said the mood of the team was upbeat before the start of the all-important third game.
    “We're loose, and by loose, I mean we're confident and knew that this series was far from over,” Courtney said. “We've had so many opportunities to score in this series and tonight, we finally found a way to get some goals.
    “The biggest was Toch’s in OT. Now, it’s 1-2 and we're back home Friday. Anything can happen now. We are so confident, and we were confident when we were down 0-2. This team has a great work ethic and every guy in that locker room felt like we were going to win tonight.”
    Including goaltender Mathieu Corbeil, who started his first game of the series and stopped 23 of 25 shots for the win.
    “Coach told me I was starting before our last practice,” Corbeil said. “This was a must win. No one wants to be down 3-0 in a seven-game series. But even if we lost, that doesn't mean we would not come out and work hard Friday.
    “Now, we're right back in it, we're confident and the guys played great in front of me tonight. We have taken each game of this series one at a time. Now that it's 1-2, we'll go into Friday and take it one at a time and hopefully even the series. Then, who knows, we're home Saturday and could go back to Rapid City leading.”
    That's what coach Scott Hillman is hoping for.
    “This series features two evenly matched teams,” Hillman said. “Hockey is a game of inches, and both teams came close to scoring some goals in regulation. Toch proved to everyone that he is a clutch player tonight.
    “Give him a little time, and he can put the puck just about anywhere he wants to. Courts (Courtney) has scored some big goals in his career and Corbs (Corbeil) was big in the net tonight.
    “I don't really know why I started Corbs tonight. Clemmer (Mike Clemente) did a nice job in the two games at Rapid City, we just couldn't find the back of the net. Tonight, we found a way to win, and we have to enter Friday's game with the same resolve.”
    Page 3 of 3 - Follow Bill Althaus on Twitter: @AlthausEJC

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