Kansas City Mavericks forward Rocco Carzo IV scored the game-winning goal in a back-and-forth 5-3 victory over the Toledo Walleye Friday night at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena.
But all his teammates wanted to talk about was a gutty blocked shot late in the game on a dramatic penalty kill that rallied his team around goalie Nick Schneider.
As Carzo grabbed a Three-Star T-shirt to toss to a fan following the game, a teammate quipped, “A charity vote for sure. What’d that guy do to deserve a star tonight?”
Carzo just grinned as he skated back out on the ice to the roar of the sold-out crowd.
“How about Rocco on the PK (penalty kill) late in the game,” said Schneider, who won his first game for the Mavericks since Dec. 31, after spending time in the American Hockey League. “When the captain sells out like that, blocking that shot point blank, it rallies all the boys. They had about four minutes of PK at the end of the third period and Rocco was out there three minutes or more.
“That’s how you win games like that. You dig deep, like Rocco did.”
Schneider gave up a quick goal in the first period as Greg Wolfe scored at the 17:01 mark, but that was it offensively as the two teams skated in a bizarre, six-goal second period.
Kansas City’s Corey Durocher tied it 1-1 for the Mavericks at the 3:23 mark of the second, but Toledo’s Jordan Topping gave his team a 2-1 lead just 28 seconds later.
Then, another 28 seconds later, No. 28 for the Mavericks, Riley Sweeney, scored his first goal of the season to make it 2-2.
Sweeney then scored his second goal as he slammed a rebound off the crossbar past Toledo goalie Pat Nagle to give Kansas City a 3-2 lead at the 11:06 mark.
Topping’s second goal of the night, just 47 seconds later, knotted the score at 3-all.
Just 12 seconds after the Toledo game-tying goal, Carzo scored what would be the eventual game-winning goal.
Greg Betzold scored a coast-to-coast empty-net goal at with 56 seconds left to seal the win.
“Down a goal, up a goal – goals, goals, goals – a crazy game, a crazy second period for sure,” Mavericks coach John-Scott Dickson said after his team improved to 27-20-3-1 overall and 20-7-1-0 at home. “I thought Nick really got stronger in the net as the game went on and bent a little at times, but really battled hard against.
“This was a good win, and the captain showed the guys how to play on the PK. Those last two PK units were huge tonight.”
Before Carzo went out to greet his mother Kathy and father Rocco III, he quipped, “Every game my dad – and tonight, my mom – come from Philly we win. Brent (Thiessen, president and general manager) might want to think about getting them tickets for every playoff game, and maybe an airline ticket.”
When asked about the late blocked shot, Carzo was in rare form.
“I was just tired and taking a nap out on the ice,” said Carzo, who was struck on a part of his knee that had no padding. “I was hoping (trainer) Nick Potter would just come out and scoop me off the ice.
“Seriously, though, that’s how you have to play against teams every opponent the rest of the season. We don’t have many more home games and we needed this one tonight and I was going to do all I could to make sure we got it.
“The boys battled, Nick played well in goal and we finally got Riley off the schneid (scoreless streak). About time that guy scores a goal.”
Sweeney was more thrilled with the win than his two-goal performance.
“This was just an unreal game,” a smiling Sweeney said. “All I want to do is win, and tonight, everyone contributed. Nick was strong in goal, the PK unit was working, Rocco has the block and the big goal and we were consistent most of the night.
“It’s one you can look back on and smile.”