The Missouri Mavericks found themselves trailing 2-1 early in Saturday’s contest versus the Wichita Thunder. However, the team caught fire, netting seven straight goals, including four in the second period, on their way to an 8-2 victory. Dane Fox lead the way with 4-points for the Mavericks and Zach Nagelvoort earned his first career professional win for Missouri.
The first period began as a shootout. At 1:34 of the first period, Ian Lowe took a cross-checking penalty, putting the faceoff in the Wichita end. Dane Fox won the draw back to Jesse Graham, who passed the puck to Rocco Carzo for the one-timer. His goal was his 20th of the season to make it 1-0.
The lead did not last long, however. A little less than a minute later James Melindy passed the puck ahead to Zach O’Brien at the Missouri blueline. O’Brien slipped and it looked like the puck would slide by him, but he reached out for it using his stick, while on his knees, and pulled it in. After sliding across the blueline he got up and blasted a slap shot by Zach Nagelvoort for his seventh goal of the year.
The Mavericks looked like they would retake the lead when they had two breakaway opportunities less than two minutes apart. At the 3:17 mark, Carzo broke in on Drew Owsley, but his shot hit off the post and bounced away. A little over 90 seconds later, Justin Breton entered the Thunder end alone, but Owsley smothered the opportunity to keep the score tied.
At 5:18, his Thunder took the lead. Louick Marcotte had the puck near the right boards and passed to O’Brien just before he entered the Mavericks end. From the left side, he fired a wrist shot by Nagelvoort for his second goal of the game.
The Thunder lead would last about five minutes when Jesse Graham tied the score again. The defenseman moved backwards across the blueline until he was about five feet from the left boards. He then fired a wrist shot that beat Owsley low and the game was tied at two.
The two teams would enter the first break with the score tied and the Wichita Thunder outshooting Missouri 10-7. The second period would be an entirely different story as Missouri would put 22-shots on net and skate away with four goals in the frame.
It started 2:19 into the second, when Kevin Tansey fired a shot from the point that Jacob Doty tipped in under the crossbar. That was his fifth goal of the year.
At the 4:46 mark, the Mavericks would extend their lead to two. While on the power-play, Alex Brooks fired a shot that bounced its way slowly through the crease without anyone being able to gain control of it. The puck finally reached the ride side of the net, where Dane Fox tipped it in for his 31st goal of the year.
Just 23-seconds later Missouri was back on the board. The Mavericks entered the zone on a 2-on-1 and Matt Robertson passed to Shawn Pauly who tipped the puck up and in for his sixth of the year. That goal chased Owsley and Scott Greenham replaced him.
At the 10:27 mark the Mavericks grabbed their fifth unanswered goal. Zach Tolkinen fired a shot from the point that Rocco Carzo tipped in for his 21st goal of the year and it was 6-2 Missouri.
In the third, the Mavericks would extend the lead to five with their sixth straight goal. While on the power-play, Radoslav Illo netted his 10th goal of the season.
Dane Fox would give his team a six-goal lead at the 15:33 mark. Carzo passed to Fox at the blueline and he moved in on Greenham on a breakaway, beating the goalie through the legs to make it 8-2. That would be the final.
For the Wichita Tunder, Zach O’Brien finished with 2-goals. James Melindy added 2-assists. Zach Nagelvoort finished with 31-saves for his first career victory. Dane Fox added 2-goals and 2-assists. Rocco Carzo had 2-goals and an assist, and Jesse Graham had a goal and 2-assists.
The Thunder will head to Missouri tomorrow for a late afternoon affair. The puck drops at 4:05.
By Robert Pannier