The Mavericks came into Friday’s game needing to win. A win would tie the series, would give extra motivation to the team, and, most importantly, would keep the Mavericks into the best-of-seven series against the Rush. The Mavericks played well from the start, shutting down the Rush offense and finding a way to sneak into the Rush’s zone and get heavy shots on Danny Battochio .
“We come home trailing 2-0 and win Wednesday (3-2 in overtime) and tonight,” Hillman said. “Now, it’s a three-game series and two of the games on their ice (next week). We have to win Saturday. We have to go in with the same sense of urgency we played with tonight.”
The first period only showcased one goal but it was still a positive period for the Mavericks. At the 12:50 mark, Kenton Miller scored after some great puck handling and a phenomenal set-up from Sebastien Thinel. With nine seconds to go in the first period, Andrew Courtney shot and struck the puck into the net, but the goal was called off for an unintentional hit of Danny Battochio.
Leading 1-0 at the start of the second period, the Mavericks were looking to capitalize on the Rush and score more goals. Just 22 seconds into the second period, Kenton Miller sent in a great pass to Kellen Tochkin who found an opening in the net and scored. The Mavericks scored their third goal, a minute and a half after Tochkin’s goal, when Kenton Miller sent in a slap-shot that sailed past Danny Battochio. This goal was assisted by Andrew Courtney. The Mavericks had a slight breakdown at the 9 minute mark, allowing the Rush’s Winston Day-Chief to score after rebounding a Jesse Schultz shot. The Mavericks quickly got that mistake out of their minds and just 18 seconds later, Andrew Courtney scored after he took advantage of a Rush mistake. The final goal of the second period was scored with just 1:47 remaining. The goal was scored by Scott Wray and assisted by Riley Weselowski.
The third period was neck-and-neck and when it ended, the Mavericks had won 4-2. The win tied the series at two and guaranteed a sixth game in Rapid City.
The game was riddled with penalties, 46 total, 26 from the Rush and 20 from the Mavericks. Coach Hillman said on Wednesday, “It’s playoff play. It’s going to be physical and we expect more penalties…” This showed Friday and will likely continue throughout the series.