Angeli Skate-Off Goal Completes Mavericks Comeback, 6-5
CORALVILLE, IA – The Iowa Heartlanders looked like they were about to earn their fourth victory in the last five games, holding a 4-2 lead entering the third period. However, three unanswered goals helped the Kansas City Mavericks force overtime where Darik Angeli won it on his eighth-goal of the season to give Kansas City a 6-5 victory. That ruined a big game for Ben Sokay who scored two goals, including the tying goal in the final two minutes of the game.
Kansas City took the lead 3:30 into the contest on the first goal of the game by Angeli. The Mavericks went on the power-play at 3:22 and scored just eight seconds later. The draw was won back to the point to Marcus Crawford, who dished it across the blueline to Nick Pastujov. Pastujov fed it back to Crawford, who made a one-touch pass to Angeli at the left faceoff circle. He blasted a one-timer by Trevin Kozlowski to put Kansas City on top, 1-0.
The lead held for less that two minutes as Sokay scored the first of three straight goals by Iowa. Kaid Oliver fired a shot that was knocked down in front and right onto the stick of Sokay. Mavericks goaltender Daniil Chechelev quickly slid over and was in great position to stop the shot, but the Heartlanders forward made a brilliant hockey move, waiting for Chechelev to spread his legs to take away the corner post, then sliding the puck through the five-whole for his third goal of the year.
At 13:35, Iowa took the lead. This time it was the Heartlanders scoring on the power play. Moments after Cole Stallard missed on a one-timer, clanking one off the post, Yuki Miura passed the puck across the slot to Stallard who was set up at the left faceoff circle. He blasted another one-timer, this time beating Chechelev over the glove for his third goal of the year.
With 70 seconds left in the period, Kris Bennett added to the lead with his team leading 12th goal of the year. The Heartlanders got a huge break when the Mavericks lost his edge at the Iowa blueline. That allowed Bennett to go the other direction on a breakaway, tucking the puck through the legs of the Kansas City netminder to make it 3-1 heading to the first intermission.
The Mavericks came out of the break and put the pressure on right away. That helped the team to pull within a goal at the 3:25 mark. With the faceoff in the Iowa end, Angeli won the draw straight behind him. Ben Johnson moved in from the wing, gained control and fired a blistering wrist shot that beat Kozlowski past the blocker for his third goal of the season.
The Mavericks were back in the contest, but a great pass by Fedor Gordeev went between two Kansas City Mavericks defenseman and right onto the stick Jack Billings. That sent Billings in on Chechelev on a breakaway. He made a nice move to get the Kansas City goaltender shifting to his right, then tucked the puck inside the post for his fifth goal of the season.
The Heartlanders had a 4-2 lead, but the game took an odd turn of events when Kozlowski made a save that sent the puck into the netting. The shot went off his shoulder and he looked like the save was routine, but Kozlowski did not return from the media timeout, with Jack Berry taking over.
Berry was sharp after taking over, preserving the two-goal lead heading to the second break. However, Kansas City responded with three unanswered goals to take the lead in the third. The first goal came at 1:34 when Lane Scheidl made a great pass up the boards through the neutral zone to Bryan Lemos just before he entered the Heartlanders end. Lemos used the Iowa defenseman as a shield before firing a shot that beat Berry low to the corner. Six minutes later, Pastujov tied the score. The defenseman put together a great individual effort, carrying the puck out from behind his own net through the neutral zone, then swept across the high slot before firing a wrist shot that beat Berry to the blocker.
One minute later, the Mavericks took the lead. After Berry made three great saves on point-blank shots by Reid Perepeluk, John Schiavo gained control of the puck behind the net, passing it out in front to Noah Delmas who beat Berry with a one-timer to give the Mavericks the lead, 5-4.
It looked like Kansas City would skate away with the huge comeback victory, but Sokay tied the score with 87 seconds left in the game. Sokay fired a shot from a bad angle that hit off the goal and went behind the net. He quickly skated over and took the puck away, sweeping around for the wraparound and beating Chechelev for the tying goal.
That sent the game to overtime where Angeli would win it 2:43 into the extra session. With the Mavericks on the power play, Crawford dealt the puck across the slot to Angeli, who buried a one-timer blast past Berry for the game-winner.
Angeli finished with two goals and an assist. Johnson had a goal and two assists and Crawford had three assists. Chechelev finished with 27 saves to earn the victory. Besides the two-goal performance by Sokay, Billings finished with a goal and an assist. Berry stopped 21 of 25 shots.
These two teams will square off again on Monday. The puck drops at 7:00.
By Robert Pannier