|
|
Examiner
  • Bill Althaus: Mavs still clinging to visions of comeback

  • After watching the Missouri Mavericks lose 8-4 Friday night in the best-of-seven CHL semifinal series, I didn't give the hometown team much of a chance of salvaging the series with a win Saturday night.

    • email print
  • I have to be honest with my Examiner readers.
    After watching the Missouri Mavericks lose 8-4 Friday night in the best-of-seven CHL semifinal series, I didn't give the hometown team much of a chance of salvaging the series with a win Saturday night.
    And for 59 minutes and 30 seconds, it appeared my hunch was correct. Those bad boys from Allen led 2-1 and the Mavericks were just coming off a dramatic penalty kill, giving coach Scott Hillman few options but to pull goalie Mike Clemente with just more than a minute left in the biggest game of the season.
    That's when Ryan Jardine and Andrew Courtney teamed up for the first of two miracle goals. Courtney was planted in front of Allen goaltender Aaron Dell and took a nifty pass from Jardine.
    “I just kind of knuckled it into the back of the net – it was all Jards' pass,” Courtney said when asked about the game-tying goal at the 30-second mark. “The PK unit set it all up. They made sure it was still a one-goal game. I don't know why, but we just knew we were going to tie the game.”
    If that wasn't dramatic enough, Jardine took the puck at mid-ice just 34 seconds into the overtime period, split the Allen defense and drove toward Dell.
    The wily veteran flipped the puck to Courtney, who scored the game-winning goal that sent the series back to Allen for Monday's night's contest.
    “I thought about taking the (overtime) shot, but I saw Courts to my right and knew he'd have a better shot at getting the puck into the net,” the low-key Jardine said. “It doesn't matter who scored, the win was all that mattered.”
    Missouri claimed an improbable 3-2 overtime win that sent chills through the spine of everyone wearing orange and blue inside the Independence Events Center.
    “When we came back out on the ice for the overtime period,” coach Scott Hillman said, “the crowd was so loud I thought they were playing some (canned) crowd noise (on the public address system).
    “It literally gave me chills. This wasn't our biggest crowd, but it was our loudest. You could tell by watching the boys go out on the ice what that ovation meant, and we took care of business right away.
    “I can't say enough good things about this team, coming back from what happened Friday night, tying the game with 30 seconds left then winning it 30 seconds into overtime. No one is ever going to forget this one. It's nice that a great playoff game was decided by the two teams and not the officials.”
    The Mavericks lost 3-2 in overtime last Wednesday when Allen scored the game-winning goal on its second 5-on-3 advantage in the OT period.
    Page 2 of 2 - “There wasn't enough time for any 5-on-3s in that overtime,” said an appreciative Clemente, who did not face a shot in OT. “This was a great win in front of one of the loudest crowds I've ever played for. That cheer coming out of the locker room was unbelievable.”
    While the Mavericks savored the series-saving victory, they know the road ahead is filled with challenges. They need two wins at Allen to advance to the championship round for the first time in team history.
    “Why not?” asked Courtney, who was mobbed by his teammates after his overtime goal. “Not many people thought we had a chance tonight, and who can blame them after the way we played Friday?
    “We're going to Allen with a lot of confidence. They're the top seed; we're not supposed to be able to play with them so all the pressure is on the Americans.”
        
        
     
      • calendar