RAPID CITY, S.D. — Kansas City Mavericks captain Rocco Carzo said his team is playing “Mavericks hockey,” and that is the perfect way to head into the Kelly Cup playoffs with some momentum.
Carzo had a goal and assist as the Mavericks extended their winning streak to four games following a 5-1 victory over the Rapid City Rush Friday at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.
“We’re back to playing Mavericks hockey,” Carzo said. “During that slump (a seven-game losing streak that has been replaced by the current four-game win streak), we weren’t playing Mavericks hockey.
“Tonight, we put the puck in the net and really played well defensively.”
Rapid City had just 10 shots on goal against Mason McDonald during the first two periods.
McDonald finished the night stopping 20 of 21 shots on goal.
Kansas City improved to 36-30-3-2 on the season with 77 points. The Mavericks will finish the regular season at 8:05 p.m. Saturday against the Rush.
“We’re winning and we’ve really developed some good habits that were missing during the losing streak,” coach John-Scott Dickson said. “I’m proud of the guys. It got a little out of hand at the end with Rapid City playing with nothing to lose, since they’re not going into the playoffs – and our guys kept their heads and didn’t do anything foolish that would hurt us going into the playoffs.”
Rapid City took an early 1-0 lead at 3:02 in the first period when Justin Faryna scored on assists from Dexter Dancs and Cedric Montminy. Just a little more than two minutes later, Mavericks forward Jared VanWormer slipped a puck between the legs of Rapid City goaltender Adam Carlson to tie the game at 1-all. Greg Betzold and Loren Ulett earned assists on the play.
Kansas City then took the lead for good on a short-handed goal from C.J. Eick as he caused a turnover in the neutral zone and tucked it behind Carlson at the 9:51 mark in the first. Eick netted his second goal 19 seconds into the second period and Carzo and Brayden Sherbinin got the assists to make it 3-1.
Carzo then scored on a power play with 11:46 to go in regulation to balloon the lead to 4-1. Darian Dziurzynski and Mike Panowyk had assists on the play. Willie Raskob capped the win with a goal at the 8:30 mark and was assisted by Dziurzynsk and Eick.
“This is how you want to play going into the playoffs,”Dickson added. “We talked about good habits, playing smart, playing strong defense – and we did all those things tonight and got some great results.”