Being down 2-0 in the first round of the playoffs, the Mavericks were coming home looking for a way to win. They found that win in overtime against the Rush which was likely the most thrilling performance this year by the Mavs.
“We are two evenly matched hockey clubs and we know it’s going to be a game of inches,” said Mavericks head coach, Scott Hillman. “We only got one goal in the two games in Rapid City. The guys were struggling a little bit with confidence and for Courts [Andrew Courtney] to get those two goals was big for us, and to get those goals after they scored is even better.”
The first period was back-and-forth from the opening face off. The play was physical and the teams were evenly matched throughout the period. Both Mathieu Corbiel and Tim Boron played shutdown. When the period ended, the Mavericks were tied 0-0 with the Rush.
The play in the second period was much more intense. Scraps and piles were happening, penalties were being called and players tempers were being tested. The first goal did not happen until 3:08 into the second period. The goal was scored by Scott Brennen after he received a great set-up pass from Dan Gendur. The Rush were leading 1-0 before the Mavericks scored. Less then four minutes later, the Mavericks, Andrew Courtney broke away and shot a shot passed Tim Boron. This goal was assisted by Sebastien Thinel. At the 15:48 mark in the second period, head referee, Zak Blasic made a controversial boarding call on Dave Pszenyczny. Pszenyczny had to serve a five minute major for the call much to the dismay of the Mavericks fans. At the end of the period, as the teams were skating off, Dan Gendur threw down Kyle Hood and was assessed a roughing penalty, still the Orange Army was not happy at Blasic.
With the game tied at one at the start of the third period, both teams knew something had to spark. Rapid City found that spark first, scoring at the 8:30 mark of the period. The goal was scored by Damian Surma and assisted by Scott Wray and Taggart Desmet. The Mavericks pressured the Rush for the next few minutes and it paid off. At the 10:40 mark, Andrew Courtney netted his second goal of the game after rebounding a Dave Pszenyczny one-timer. After 10 minutes of back-and-forth action, neither team scored sending the game into overtime.
The Mavericks played harder in the overtime period than they had played all game. The hard play paid off and just 3:50 into the overtime play, Kellen Tochkin sent a hard shot into the top of the goal winning the game for the Mavericks.
“I was garbage for 60 minutes,” said Mavericks forward, Kellen Tochkin. “Then I got a shift on the power play in overtime and Chezy [Dave Pszenyczny] sent in a good feed and I scored. I really needed it for the confidence and it worked.”
The Mavericks won this game is mainly because they were able to penetrate and score on, Rush goaltender, Tim Boron. They scored three goals on 30 shots and the Rush defense couldn’t stop the Mavericks from getting into their zone.
“Courts had a very clutch breakaway goal. He wasn’t able to score on a breakaway in Rapid City,” said, Scott Hillman. “Tochkin’s shot couldn’t have been blocked by any goalie in the league unless it caught them in the shoulder and he had a great shot on that goal”
The Mavericks also won because Sebastien Thinel was not secured . Thinel was able to open up and helped lead the Mavericks to a great victory. Finally, the Mavericks clinched the win because of the home-ice advantage. Playing in front of the home-fans is a lot easier and last week, the Rush fans were named the “Best Fans in the CHL”, thus making the Rushes’ home-ice harder to play on.