INDEPENDENCE, MO – After a weekend that could only be described as…um…err…rough, the Missouri Mavericks returned to their home ice one final time on this home stand for a morning tilt against the visiting Allen Americans. Head Coach John-Scott Dickson used an 8:00 a.m. film session with his young squad on Sunday morning to hopefully get his team back on track. With over 4,600 young fans cheering them on for Education Day, the “Let’s Go Mavericks” chants had a decidedly higher pitch, but a feeling of energy and enthusiasm was present the entire game.
The Mavericks did not disappoint their home crowd as they set the tone early with Mavericks defenseman Ryan Obuchowski getting the scoring started in the first off a blistering shot from the left point past Allen Americans netminder Riley Gill. Minutes later, Justin Selman, just sent to the Mavericks from the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League, would find himself all alone standing at the blue line as the Mavericks caught the Americans in a bad line change that had to make coach Steve Martinson cringe. Selman would take full advantage as he beat Riley Gill to make it 2-0 in favor of the home team.
The kids hadn’t even sat back down in their seats when Darren Nowick would receive an early holiday gift as he buried a rebound off a rocket from Kevin Tansey. Tansey, also re-assigned Monday by the Chicago Wolves would get credit with an assist along with Dane Fox. Those two goals, just thirty-five seconds apart, would finish out the scoring in the first period with the home team leading 3-0.
With Islanders Director of Pro Scouting, Ken Morrow, on hand, Eamon McAdam looked like a future NHL goaltender on this day as he made one amazing save after another. The way he was picking up the puck was very reminiscent of the reigning ECHL Goaltender of the Year that wears #30 for the Mavericks. McAdam was so impressive throughout the game and you have to think that will boost the confidence of the young man as he’ll continue to get time in net with the aforementioned Josh Robinson playing in Bridgeport.
The Mavericks would pick up right where they left off in the second period. Gill never stood a chance of picking up a Matt Finn wrister from the left slot and it was quickly 4-0 Mavericks only three minutes into the 2nd. That would spell the end for Riley Gill for the day as Jamie Murray came on in relief. The Mavericks continued to control the puck and tempo during throughout the second period, even as tempers began to flare and the game turned decidedly chippy. The students in attendance had been chanting for it the entire game and they finally got their scrap as Finn took exception to Tanner Eberle pushing his head into the ice behind the play. Finn and Eberle would each connect on a few punches as they both fell to the ice.
Communication between defensemen had seemingly been one of the biggest issues facing the Mavericks in their weekend tilts against Fort Wayne. Tuesday morning that was not a problem at all. The defensemen consistently barked out orders and made sure the odd man rushes that plagued them against the Komets weren’t going to happen today. The Mavericks looked completely in control through two periods as they used the middle of the ice to push the puck deep into the Allen zone. Dickson said after the game that they had made some defensive adjustments after the Fort Wayne games.
All good teams and good coaches make adjustments and Steve Martinson is a good coach of a good team. As the Americans took the ice for the third period, the tone began to change. Travis Brown finally broke through for the Americans two minutes into the period, making it 4-1. Minutes later, the Mavericks would get sent to the sin bin for a couple of penalties and hand the Americans a five on three advantage. That quickly became a six on three advantage when Martinson made the gutsy call to pull Murray for the extra attacker with more than half of the third period left to play. It would pay off for the Americans though, as Spencer Asuchak would find himself alone on the left side of the crease to put home the second tally of the period for the Americans. They would quickly tack on their third goal of the period 1:13 later as Tanner Eberle would find the back of the net past McAdam.
The tide had definitely turned in favor of the Americans, but coach John-Scott Dickson continued to roll through his lines and believe in his young goaltender. The Americans would outshoot the Mavericks 22-2 in the third period alone, but McAdam was not to be denied a victory on this day. Kyle Schempp would take a tripping penalty with 2:35 left on the clock and the Americans would head to an all-in power play to try and tie it up. In what was probably the most intense two minutes of hockey most of us had witnessed, the Americans hit McAdam with a barrage of shots from all angles. The Mavericks forwards and blueliners took many of those shots as they were laying on the ice in the shooting lane. Schempp would jump out of the box just in time to receive a perfect pass and bury an empty net goal to ice the victory for the Mavericks and send the students home happy.
The Mavericks will now travel to Florida for games against the always tough Florida Everblades and the reeling Orlando Solar Bears. Not a bad way to spend the next week as the temperatures in Missouri begin to drop. The Mavs return home on November 30th against these same Allen Americans.