Thomas Sholl has earned the respect and admiration of opponents across the ECHL. That’s why the Idaho Steelheads goalie is considered among the top – if not No. 1 – in the league.
He certainly looked like the top goalie in Silverstein Eye Centers Arena Friday as he stopped 29 of 30 shots and paved the way to a 4-1 Steelheads victory.
“He’s a very good goalie,” Mavericks coach John-Scott Dickson said after his team dropped the first of a three-games-in-three-days stretch when they play host to Idaho Saturday night then travel to Tulsa on Sunday, “but we got outworked tonight, and that’s just not acceptable.
“He made some big saves, but we didn’t work hard out on the ice and that was something we just addressed in the locker room. We played pretty well for two periods, then just got outworked in the third period.
“Totally unacceptable – and our guys know it.”
The loss leaves the Mavericks with a 28-22-3-1 overall record and 21-9-1-0 mark at home. They have just four home games remaining, and team captain Rocco Carzo said they can’t let opportunities to win at home slip away.
“How many times have I told you that the beauty of this league – of this game – is that you can play a game like this, put it in the back of your mind, and play again in less than 24 hours,” Carzo said after Dickson addressed the team. “I didn’t have to say anything after this game. Coach addressed everything – and I agree with everything he said. We did not play a complete game. When we beat them (4-3 Wednesday night at home), we played the best 60 minutes of hockey we might have played all season.
“And that’s what you have to do to beat the top team in the division – a team that is well coached, has a lot of talent and a great goalkeeper. We get them again tomorrow night and we’re hoping for a better outcome.”
Sholl is 20-10-0-0 and had a microscopic 2.27 goals against average before the win Friday night.
“We got in early this week and did a little traveling around Independence,” Sholl said after being named the No. 1 star. “We ate at Cafe Verona on The Square, and that was cool because I’m a bit of a history buff, and the Truman Courthouse, and the statue of President Truman was right across from the restaurant.
“It’s cool to be in President’s Truman’s hometown, and we’re all feeling much better after this win tonight. They’re a good team, and they proved it Wednesday night. Now, we have to come back and do it again Saturday.”
Defenseman Jordan Klimek scored the lone goal for the Mavericks, while goaltender Mason McDonald stopped 31 of 34 shots.
After a scoreless first period, Steven McParland put Idaho ahead 6:52 into the middle frame.
Klimek broke through for the Mavericks later in the second period with a shorthanded goal on a two-on-one rush at the 12:24 mark of the second. Raskob and Carzo earned assists. With the assist, Raskob has points in his last six games.
The Steelheads grabbed the lead in the third period as Kyle Schempp broke the stalemate 1:04 into the final period of regulation.
Idaho extended its lead to 3-1 five minutes later on a goal from A.J. White. The visitors added an unassisted empty net goal from Mitch Moroz with 12 seconds left to seal the victory.
“We were 0-for-6 on power plays – including a 5-on-3 (in the third period) – and we didn’t look like we were willing to work,” Dickson said. “We will find players who are willing to work.”