WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – The Kansas City Mavericks have climbed out of the ECHL Mountain Division basement.
And the Mavericks used some hot goaltending to move up in the first two games of a three-game set against the Utah Grizzlies at the Maverik Center near Salt Lake City.
With 2-1 and 1-0 victories over the Grizzlies Saturday and Sunday, the Mavericks (24-28-3-1) leapfrogged the Wichita Thunder into sixth place in the Mountain Division. Their 52 points put them two better than the Thunder, seven points away from fifth-place Tulsa and just eight points away from fourth-place Rapid City for the division’s final playoff spot.
For much of Sunday’s 2-1 shootout victory it appeared goalie Tyler Parsons might replicate Nick Schneider’s Saturday night shutout.
The Mavericks led 1-0 before Utah’s Tim McGauley scored at 9:44 of the third period to tie it.
After a scoreless seven-minute overtime – in which the Mavericks survived a Utah power play because Parsons was called for delay of game for not playing the puck at the 3:15 mark – Terrance Amarosa and Bryan Lemos scored goals and Parsons allowed none in the shootout for the win.
Loren Ulett gave the Mavericks an early lead when he scored on assists from Matt Schmalz and David Dziurzynski at the 4:57 mark of the first period.
But neither team could find the net until McGauley’s goal.
Parsons stopped 41 of 42 shots.
A night earlier, Schneider stopped all 30 of the Grizzlies’ shots for his first professional shutout in the 1-0 win.
“The big takeaway from tonight was that Nick Schneider was incredible,” Schultz said by phone. “The team persevered and worked incredibly hard.
“We knew if we were going to win, we would have to commit to defense and I couldn’t be prouder of the way they played for each other.”
Ulett scored the lone goal of the game 25 seconds into the third period on an assist from Dziurzynski
The Mavericks prevailed despite being outshot 30-12 on goal by Utah (32-16-5-3).
The Mavericks played the Grizzlies one more game Monday night before returning home Saturday for a 7:05 p.m. Leap Day game against the Kalamazoo Wings.