After a disappointing 5-2 loss to Idaho Friday night, Kansas City Mavericks coach John-Scott Dickson was eager to see what his team was made of Saturday night.
He found out – and he liked what he saw – as Mason McDonald again starred in the net and C.J. Eick scored a game-winning goal on a shorthanded breakaway in the third period as the Mavericks edged the ECHL Mountain Division-leading Steelheads 2-1 at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena.
The Mavericks, though, followed the win by dropping a 3-1 decision at Tulsa Sunday. But Saturday’s win, which gave the Mavericks a 2-1 edge in the three-game set with Idaho, pleased Dickson.
“This win was huge, especially after the disappointing performance Friday night,” Dickson said after the Mavericks improved to 29-22-3-1 overall and 18-8-1-1 at home. “We played good, solid hockey for three periods. We skated well, and created spaces out on the ice. What can you say about Mason that hasn’t been said? He was great again and Eicker got the big shorthanded goal.
“There was an electric atmosphere here tonight, a playoff atmosphere and the fans got their money’s worth.”
Corey Durocher gave the Mavericks a 1-0 lead early in the first period, but the Steelheads’ tied it at 1-1 on a goal by Alexander Dahl in the second.
The score remained tied until Eick picked a Steelhead player’s pocket and drove the length of the ice to slip the puck past Idaho goalie Colton Point.
“You don’t really think – at least, I don’t really think – in a situation like that,” Eick said. “Mason has been playing so well. He’s easily been our best player the past month, and I just wanted to get a goal to give our team the lead and help him win.”
McDonald, who improved to 18-6-1-1 and saw his goals against average of 2.42 drop again, said it was a team win.
“The entire game had a playoff feel, you couldn’t take a series off, a play off – it was pretty intense out there,” said McDonald, who stopped 35 of 36 shots. “The guys are giving me too much credit – they were diving in front of pucks, doing everything they could to help me and C.J. got that big goal during our four-minute penalty kill.
“It was a great night and a great win.”
OILERS 3, MAVERICKS 1: The Tulsa Oilers defeated the Mavericks 3-1 Sunday afternoon at BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla.
Darian Dziurzynski scored the only goal for Kansas City and Mavericks goaltender Nick Schneider stopped 27 of 30 shots by Tulsa.
Tulsa jumped on Kansas City in the first period, netting two goals in the opening period while outshooting the Mavericks 20-4. Tommy Mele got the Oilers on the board just under two minutes into the game, and Adam Pleskach made it 2-0 at the 12:54 mark.
“We lose 3-1 and get outshot 20-4 and outscored 2-0 in the first period,” Dickson said. “Look, I’m not using it as an excuse, but we’ve played three games in three days, we take the bus trip to Tulsa this morning and the guys just didn’t play well in the first period.
“We wanted two points and didn’t get them. That makes the games in Allen even more important.”
The Mavericks, nine points ahead of fifth-place Wichita (62-53) and nine points behind third-place Utah (71), travel from Tulsa to Allen, Texas, where they play two games against the Mountain Division rival Americans Wednesday and Friday.
The win allowed Tulsa (34-20-4-2, 74 points) to move past Idaho (34-20-2-2, 72) into first place in the Mountain Division.