Great things usually happen for the Kansas City Mavericks when Rocco Carzo III is in the house.
That’s because Rocco Carzo IV, who happens to be the Kansas City Mavericks team captain, always enjoys playing “in front of the ol’ man.”
Well, the ol’ man was in his familiar seat behind the west goal in Silverstein Eye Centers Arena when Rocco IV just happened to be in the right place at the right time Friday.
“Darrian (Dziurzynski) got off a great shot that hit off my shin guard and went right into the net,” Carzo said after that goal turned into the game-winner in a gritty 6-4 come-from-behind win over ECHL Mountain Division rival Rapid City in front of a packed house at the SEC Arena.
“DZ makes the great shot and I got the goal,” he added with a laugh. “Funny how things work out sometimes. But you know what? When my dad’s in town, good things usually happen.”
Turns out to be great things at home as the 18-12-1-1 Mavericks improved to 13-1-0-0 at SEC Arena.
“It has to be my dad,” Carzo said of Kansas City’s success at home. “Really, the fans fire us up. We have to start taking care of business on the road, but at home, we’re nails! We get so much energy from our fans.
“We’re down 4-3 going into the third period and we were so fired up, we knew we were going to make a comeback.”
So did Rocco III.
“I really like this team,” said Carzo’s father, who flies in from Philadelphia as often as the schedule at his Roma Deli allows. “They work hard for every win, and when your kid scores the game-winner, well, that’s not too bad either.
“But after what happened last season (when Carzo IV tore his ACL and missed most of the season) all I want is for him to be healthy and happy.”
To put an exclamation point on the exhaustive win, Zach Fischer scored his first goal of the season to help the Mavericks reach six goals, which means free burgers for all in attendance.
“I know the goal means Betzy (Greg Betzold) and the boys get free burgers – along with 5,000 of their best friends,” joked Fisher. “I knew it (his first goal) was coming, but it took too long to get that first one.
“The first shift, I hit one off the post – it had been that kind of season. But tonight I got one in the back of the net and it was the big burger goal, so everyone’s happy.”
One of the happiest players in the locker room was new goalie Max Milosek, who picked up his first ECHL win after being signed from the Southern Professional Hockey League earlier this week. He stopped 19 of 23 shots.
“I got my first SPHL win and my first ECHL win this season, so I’m pretty excited,” said Milosek, who said the game puck was going to his father Mike. “We’re up 2-0 after one period and feeling good, then Rapid City comes back and scores four in the second period and it’s a 4-3 game.
“But the boys came out and took care of me in the third period. This was just a gritty, tough victory and I am so proud to be a small part of it.”
Fischer found Jordan Ernst wide open at the far blue line with a stretch pass at 6:16 of the first period and the Mavs forward buried the puck for a 1-0 lead at the 6:16 mark.
Mark Cooper then hit Darian Dziurzynski with a pass from behind the net and Dziurzynski fired a slap shot past Rush goalie Adam Carlson to make it 2-0.
But the Rush came out and scored four goals in the second period to offset Cooper’s 12th goal of the season to give the Rush a 4-3 lead entering the final period.
“We should not have been in a position where we were down 4-3 going into the third period,” Mavericks coach John-Scott Dickson said. “We need to find guys who will get in front of a puck and stop it.
“I did that when I played, and we better have some guys start doing now, or we’re going to bring in some guys who will do it. That was just bad defense the second period.”
Joey Sides tied the game at 4-all at 2:30 of the third period to set the stage for Carzo’s game-winner at 13:37 and Fischer’s final goal.
“It’s a win, a big win, and we’ll take it,” Dickson said, “but we have to clean some things up defensively. And we will.”