INDEPENDENCE, MO – After getting shutout for the first time all season in game one, the Missouri Mavericks bounced back for an impressive 5-2 victory in game two, to even their best-of-seven series with the Allen Americans.
The Mavericks came out firing in the opening frame, netting three goals behind a smothering offensive attack. C.J. Ludwig would start the scoring barrage, beating Americans goalie Riley Gill just 88 seconds into the game. The Mavericks would double their lead less than five minutes later, as Tyler Barnes scored his third goal of the post season on the power play. The Mavericks struggled with the man advantage in the series opener going scoreless in five attempts, but that would not be the case in game two. Darren Nowick would add a power play goal of his own late in the first period, stuffing home a loose puck in front of Gill. The two teams only combined for 11 shots in the frame, Missouri with the edge 8-3.
The Mavericks would come out in the second period much like they ended the first. A solid forecheck and strong transitional play set up several scoring chances for Missouri in the period, but they were only able to push across one goal. Rocco Carzo started and finished an odd-man rush when his slapshot squeaked through the pads of Gill and trickled into the net to extend the Mavericks lead to 4-0. That would end the night for Gill, as Allen coach Steve Martinson would pull his starter in favor of Joel Rumpel.
A chippy game all night, but things really heated up in the second period. Big bodies from both sides were throwing their weight around, in particular Ross Johnston and Andrew Courtney for the Mavericks, countered by Vincent Arseneau and Spencer Asuchak for the Americans.
The Mavericks would put the game all but out of reach early in the third period, as Barnes would blast a howitzer past Rumpel for his second of the night, also on the power play. Allen would end Mavericks goalie Parker Milner’s shutout bid as Casey Pierro-Zabotel took advantage of Parker Milner losing his stick, and stuffed a goal in from the top of the crease. ECHL MVP Chad Costello would add a goal a couple minute later, tapping in a nice feed from Matthew Register at the back post. That would be the closest the Americans would get, and the Mavericks would even the series with a 5-2 victory in front of a raucous crowd at the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena.
Game three is Wednesday night at the Allen Event Center in Allen, Texas. The opening puck drop is at 7:05pm CST.