Some things were said, some things were broken, and the message was received by the Kansas City Mavericks.
The Mavericks went into the locker room after the first period of Friday’s game at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena trailing 3-0 to the visiting Cincinnati Cyclones, and Mavericks coach John-Scott Dickson was not happy.
"Yeah, we deserved what we got," said captain Rocco Carzo, who outhustled a Cyclone player in overtime to prevent a breakaway shot that set up the game winner for Mike Panowyk, who finished with a hat trick that sent a small but enthusiastic crowd home happy with a dramatic 7-6 victory.
"We played well the first period, but we made three mistakes, three turnovers, and a great team like the Cyclones turn those into three pucks in the back of the net. But we got our coach's message and came out and played a pretty good second period."
The Mavericks scored five second-period goals – believed to be a team record for one period – that gave them a 5-3 lead going into the final 20 minutes.
But the game was far from over.
Cincinnati (23-8-3-3) scored the first two goals of the third period – by Pascal Aquin and Mike Marnell – to knot it 5-5.
Corey Durocher, who has missed most of the season with a lower body injury, then scored his biggest goal of the season at 13:16 to give the Mavericks a 6-5 lead.
But with 1:35 left in the game, Eric Knodel scored on a long-range slap shot to tie the game and send it into overtime.
That's when Carzo made the biggest defensive play of the game and Panowyk topped off his hat trick with the game winner at 2:53 of the overtime period.
"Panowyk has scored some big goals this season," Dickson said after the Mavericks improved to 19-14-1-1 and 14-2 at home. "And this was just Durocher's fourth game, and look at the difference he made. That line with Panowyk, (Zach) Fischer (who gave the team a 4-3 second-period lead) and (C.J.) Eick – and tonight, with the addition of Durocher – has been huge! It's been our best line recently and it got the job done tonight.
"We played a solid second period and I was disappointed with the third-period goals, but good teams score goals. And Cincinnati is a very good team."
When asked about the near disastrous first period, Dickson chose his words carefully.
"I don't want to go into any detail, but some choice words were spoken and the guys got the message," Dickson said. "I think a few sticks might have been broken, but we made three mistakes and we should not be making at this time of the season and they all turned into goals. That is just unacceptable.
"We don't have enough communication out on the ice – when I played, I was always talking. It makes the game easier. It cuts down on the mistakes. We played much, much better after the first period and I am proud of the way we came back."
Panowyk was getting some friendly ribbing from his teammates following the game, as he scored two goals within a 27-second span in the dramatic second period and the game winner in overtime.
"This team has a lot of character," said Panowyk, who has eight goals and nine assists in 29 games this season. "We were hot happy the way we played the first period. Our coach was not happy the way we played the first period. It's a lousy night with the snow and the fans who were here deserved so much better than what we gave them the first period. We made some correction, and our leaders – our veterans, our captain – got us going the rest of the game.
"I was proud to be on the ice tonight with my teammates. This was a crazy game, a great win."
THINEL CEREMONY: Mavericks legend Sebastien Thinel will become the first player in team history to have his number retired in a pregame ceremony Saturday night. Thinel and other former players will be introduced before the game, which begins at 7:05 p.m.
"I'm excited about tomorrow night," Thinel said, as he cheered and watched Friday's game from a suite, along with his family. "It's so great to be back, to see old friends and teammates. Tomorrow is going to be one of the most special nights of my life and I want to share it with everyone."