By Nick Hartman:
(INDEPENDENCE, MO): The Mavericks came out flying, Saturday, against the Allen Americans. From the start, the Mavericks looked to have a different, more emotional, intensity. If the Mavericks had lost this game, their season would have been over. No one was ready for the season to be over but it looked as if it was coming to a sad end. Andrew Courtney proved everyone wrong when he showed late heroics and scored a goal with just 34 seconds left in the third period to tie the game at two and send the game into overtime. The Mavericks ultimately won the game, 3-2, in overtime after another great goal by Andrew Courtney.
“I think both teams appreciate the players being able to finalize the game instead of having 12 power plays on each side,” said Mavericks head coach Scott Hillman with a look of relief on his face. “The boys stepped it up and the refs stepped it up and we’re happy with the result.”
The three periods were very neck-and-neck and had some stellar goal-tending from both teams’ goalies. The one and only goal of the first period was scored by the Allen Americans, with just 9:30 left in the period. Trevor Hendrix fired a shot at the net that sailed past Mike Clemente. The goal was assisted by Mike Berube and Todd Robinson. When the first period came to an end, the Mavericks held the lead 1-0.
The first period goal was a wake-up call for the Mavericks and in the second period, they began firing on all cylinders. The intensity increased as the game went on and at the 15:30 mark it paid off. Colt King fired a burner from the left circle after receiving a good backboard feed from John Scott-Dickson. Unfortunately, the Americans managed to tie the game up just two minutes later when Brian McMillian delivered a “knuckle-puck” at goalie Mike Clemente for a goal.
The Americans had the lead 2-1 at the start of the third period and were almost able to notch a third goal, on an empty net, if it were not for a glove save by Eric Medland. With just 34 seconds remaining, Medland began an attack that fed the puck to Ryan Jardine. Jardine threw a perfect pass to Andrew Courtney and Courtney poked the puck in for a game-tying goal. The game was forced into overtime.
“This is the biggest game of my life, so far,” said Mavericks forward Andrew Courtney. “It’s a good feeling right now but we still have a lot of work to do. We still have two more games to get through and our backs are against the wall going into Allen.”
The Mavericks best period was overtime. They didn’t allow an Allen shot on goal and and just 34 seconds in, Andrew Courtney received another incredible pass from Ryan Jardine and scored the game-winning goal. The Mavericks were full of emotions when the game ended and they now have to travel back to Allen for a sixth and possible seventh game.
“Tonight’s game was a great team effort. We never panicked. We were down 2-1 until about 30 seconds left, and we just were able to stick to the game plan and get a goal,” said Mavericks goaltender Mike Clemente. “We were able to get a break in overtime and win the game. It’s