The only thing more spectacular than the play of Kansas City goaltender Tyler Parsons was his postgame smile, as he led the Mavericks to their third win in a row over the Wichita Thunder, 4-1 Friday night at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena.
With the win, the Mavericks improve to 9-9-2-0 (20 points) and inch closer fourth place in the Mountain Division, which would assure them of postseason action for the second year in a row.
“I’m so happy, I can’t quit smiling,” Parsons said. “I don’t care where I play, I just want to play and contribute. I played last weekend in Wichita, but this is my first home game and the fans here are as great as I remember them.”
Parsons delivered some early saves that inspired his teammates as the Mavericks took a 2-0 lead after the first 20 minutes of action.
He stopped a point-black shot by Fabrizio Ricci at 7:52 and the Mavericks Ryan Galt scored six seconds later as a rebound off a shot by Michael Parks ricocheted into the net after striking Gault’s helmet.
“How about that?” chuckled Mavericks coach John-Scott Dickson, “Galt gets his first professional goal and it doesn’t even touch his stick. It bounces in off his head.”
It was that kind of night for the Mavericks.
Seconds later, Kansas City’s Justin Woods and former Thunder standout Ryan Van Stralen assisted on a slick goal by David Dziurysinski, to make it 2-0 at 8:08 of the first period.
“When a guy like Tyler is playing like he did tonight, you want to do everything you can to help him get a win,” said Woods, whose two goals gave him a team-high 16 points on the season.
Woods have five assists in his last three games and a team-high 12 on the season.
“We’re playing Mavericks hockey, where we’re pushing the puck up the ice, getting it to our forwards and good things are happening,” Woods added. “The three wins (in a row) over Wichita are huge because we’re trailing them in the standings and we want to get up to that fourth place and even higher. But we’ll take it one game at a time.”
Kansas City’s Tad Kozun scored at 7:39 of the second period, off assists by Cliff Watson and Woods to make it a 3-1 game, but Brendan De Jong scored the lone Thunder goal just a minute later, at 8:39 to make it 3-1 going into the third period.
“We played a really good first period, with Tyler making some big saves, then we got away from our game a little bit in the second period,” Dickson said, “but we came back and played a solid third period.”
Van Stralen, who scored four goals against his former team in two wins last weekend in Wichita, scored an empty netter to close out the scoring and give the Mavericks the 4-1 win.
“This is a solid team that is going to do some big things this season and I want to be a part of it,” said Parsons, who stopped 24 of 25 shots. “I’m having the most fun I’ve ever had playing hockey.”
TEDDY BEAR TOSS: Saturday is Teddy Bear night, in which fans are encouraged to bring a Teddy Bear to throw on the ice after the Mavericks score their first goal. The toys are then donated to area charities. The Mavericks will play Fort Wayne in the 7:05 p.m. game against Fort Wayne.