With 1 minute, 6 seconds left in a 3-2 contest against Rapid City, Kansas City Mavericks goaltender Mason McDonald had a feeling the ECHL contest was far from over.
And he was right.
With just over a minute to play Tuesday night at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena, he made three spectacular saves. He then saved the best for last as he used his body to stop a point-blank shot by Riley Weselowski to help his team claim its second win in a row and the second on the team’s current nine-game homestand.
The Mavericks, who are 2-1-1 during the homestand, improved to 15-4-1-0 at home and 21-17-2-1 overall, slipping past Wichita into fourth place in the Mountain Division with 45 points.
“I just had a feeling they were going to make a late push,” said McDonald, who stopped 26 of 28 shots and improved to 11-2 on the season. “I think I used every part of my body, including my armpit, with just over a minute to play, then I had to make that last stop.
“We didn’t want them tying the score with just a couple of seconds left in the game.”
McDonald drew the praise of coach John-Scott Dickson and associate captain Jared VanWormer, who scored the game-winner when he redirected a shot by Joey Sides at the 18:44 mark of the second period.
“That shot, it’s just reaction,” said VanWormer, who is tied with captain Rocco Carzo for the most points on the team (32). “We really played well, much better than the final 3-2 score would indicate.
“And Mase came up huge in the net. He was good the entire game, but he was great in the last minute or so. They really hung around the net and had a lot of quality shots and he stopped every one of them.”
Dickson said that despite his team losing 1-0 after the first 20 minutes, he thought the Mavericks turned in 60 solid minutes against the Rush.
“We did a lot of good things in the first period,” Dickson said. “We came out with a lot of energy and finally scored to make it a 2-1 game. That was big.”
Chris Leibinger scored at the 3:48 mark of the second to put Rapid City up 2-0. Jordan Ernst then beat Rapid City goalie Adam Carlson on assists from Carzo and Jordan Klimek to make it 2-1 at the 9:19 mark.
“Then we had like 25 shots in the second period and just dominated that period and we played well in the third period,” Dickson said. “Mase came up big in the third period, especially at the end.
“He has been hurt a lot this season, but since he has come back (out since Dec. 11) he’s been great. I know he’s going to get another shot in the AHL, so we better enjoy him as long as he is with us.”
Brett Beauvais appeared to tie the game soon after Ernst’s goal but the referee ruled goalie interference and waved off the goal.
Corey Durocher tied it at 17:08 of the second period on assists from Willie Raskob and Darian Dziurzynski. VanWormer scored the game winner just 26 seconds later.
Carlson stopped 33 of 36 shots on goal but suffered the loss for the sixth-place Rush (17-23-4-3).