Some things in life are hard to explain.
Tulsa is the most explosive offensive team in the CHL, scoring a league-high 146 goals, yet the Missouri Mavericks claimed their ninnth victory in a row over the Oilers Saturday night, capping a huge four-point weekend with a dominating 5-3 win in front of a sellout crowd at the Independence Events Center.
The win was the second in as many nights over the Oilers and gave Missouri a 24-11-2 record, good for 50 points and third place in the league. Allen and Rapid City are tied for the top spot with 54 points.
“It's weird how things work out,” said team captain Sebastien Thinel, who opened the second period with a power-play goal. “Wichita has our number (winning five in a row over the Mavericks) and for some reason, we have Tulsa's number.
“We played in Tulsa on Friday and coming home, we needed the help of our fans. And this building was energized from the first time we skated out onto the ice. This was a big weekend after a disappointing weekend last weekend (losing two games to the Thunder, one in overtime and one in regulation time).
“We did all the things you need to do to win – Shane (Owen) was great in the net and the boys played well. It was a good win, a good weekend.”
The Oilers took a quick 1-0 lead on the first of two Adam Pleskach goals, but it didn't last long as Colt King knotted the score at 1-1 when he slipped the puck past Tulsa goaltender Shane Madolora off a Colten Hayes shot in front of the net.
Matt Stephenson, who turned in another defensive gem for the Mavericks, gave Missouri a 2-1 lead with a long slap shot at 15:18 of the first period.
Mavericks would never relinquished that lead and improved to 7-0-0 against the Oilers this season after winning the last two meetings last year.
“Matty is the ultimate teammate, a guy whose presence is always felt on the ice,” Mavericks coach Scott Hillman said. “He scores that goal, and right now he's back getting ice on his leg because he took a hard shot (sliding in front of Owen and a Tulsa forward).
“He's a winner, a player who has the ultimate respect of his teammates, and he has been a huge addition to the team this season.”
Thinel's power-play goal made it 3-1 before Pleskach collected his second goal of the game to cut the deficit to one goal.
Missouri's Mike Ramsay then stole the puck at mid-ice and made a slick move in front of Madolora to help the Mavericks regain their two-goal lead.
Evan Vossen, a forward who has taken over a defensive role with the lack of blue line players, again made his presence felt with Missouri's final goal of the game and a solid night of play in support of Owen.
“We ask a lot of Voss,” Hillman said. “He starts on the blue line and on his first shift (as a forward) he scores a goal. I think he'll tell you it wasn't his best night defensively, but we're going to be fine on the blue line once we get Chezy (Dave Pszenyczny, who served the last game of his three-game suspension) back and with the addition of Dean Moore.”
The Mavericks signed Moore on Saturday morning, as they lost newly signed defenseman Evan Zych to a lower-body injury. Zych has been placed on the seven-day injured reserve list.
The 6-foot, 200-pound Moore made his debut against the Oilers.
“The energy in this building is amazing,” said Moore, who began this season with the St. Charles Chill before making a move to the Mississippi Surge of the Southern Professional Hockey League. “The guys have made me feel right at home, and I can't wait to see what happens the rest of the season.”
Tulsa made it interesting when Drew Fisher scored with just over 12 minutes left in the third period, but that would be the last hurrah for the Oilers.
“I knew we had to shut them down after that third goal,” said Owen, who now leads the CHL with 20 wins. “The boys did a great job tonight. Dean Moore comes in and gives us help on the blue line and Voss and Sebbie (Thinel) once again play great defense.
“This was a big win, and a big weekend. You can't get back the points we lost last weekend with the two losses to Wichita, but this helps. Tonight, the fans were great and we were able to give them something to cheer about.”
DICKSON TO IR: Forward John-Scott Dickson has been placed on the 14-day injured reserve list with a lower body injury. He scored the first goal in Friday night's win at Tulsa and has 22 points (14 goals, 8 assists) and a plus-2 rating in 36 games.