Matt Finn’s OT Goal Gives Mavericks 7-6 Victory Over Thunder
The Super Bowl may not be until Sunday evening, but the Missouri Mavericks and Wichita Thunder ended Saturday night’s contest with a football like 7-6 victory for the home team. That score would be a defensive struggle in the NFL, but this was anything but that, as the Thunder came from two goals down in the third, before Matt Finn won it for Missouri in overtime on his second goal of the game.
The Wichita Thunder would take the early lead in this game as Zach O’Brien, who had a huge night, scored just 2:55 into the contest. Vincent Dunn passed the puck to O’Brien at the side of the net and he redirected the puck in past Missouri netminder Eamon McAdam for his fifth goal of the season.
A little less than five minutes later the Thunder would be back on the scoreboard. Ian Lowe blasted a shot that McAdam could not handle, and Wichita was up 2-0.
At the 15:27 mark, the Mavericks would get on the board. Dane Fox and Carter Verhaeghe entered the Wichita end on a 2-on-2. As the two approached the Thunder goal, Verhaeghe dropped the puck back to Jesse Graham who beat Thunder goalie Scott Greenham with a wrist shot to make it 2-1. The assist by Verhaeghe gave him 14 straight games with at least one point, the longest streak in the ECHL this season.
The goal seemed to rattle the Thunder briefly, as they had dominated the first frame, outshooting Missouri 16-5. That jarring seemed to carry over into the second when Missouri would tie the score at the 2:43 mark. While on the power-play, Graham passed to Darren Nowick who was in the slot area. He fired a shot that beat Greenham and the contest was tied at two.
Missouri was riding high, but that euphoria would not last long, as rookie Matt DeBlouw would give the Thunder back the lead just 25 seconds later. With the faceoff in the Missouri end, the puck dropped and no one could gain control right away. DeBlouw swooped in and corralled the puck, then fired a quick shot that beat McAdam for his ninth goal of the year.
It would stay a one-goal Wichita lead until the 14:43 mark when the Mavericks would tie the score again. Graham passed the puck to Dan Correale who was streaking down the right wing side. After entering the Thunder zone, he dropped the puck to Dane Fox, who wristed a shot over the shoulder of Greenham for his 18th goal of the year.
The Mavericks took control of the remaining part of the second period and this carried over into the third when they would score two goals before the three minute mark would be reached. Just 47 seconds into the frame, Matt Finn would net his first goal of the game and his fifth of the season. A little less than two minutes later the Mavericks would score their third unanswered goal when Kyle Schempp scored on the power-play, his ninth goal of the season.
The ice seemed to be tilting against the Thunder, but Ryan Rupert would give his team back some momentum at the 5:16 mark. His sixth goal of the season made it 5-4 and six minutes later the Thunder would tie the score once again, when Louick Marcotte beat McAdam with a slap shot for his seventh of the season.
A little less than three-minutes later Missouri would retake the lead when Greenham made the initial save on a shot by Dan Correale, but the puck trickled through the goalie’s pads and Darren Nowick slapped the puck into the net to make it 6-5.
The Thunder responded 77-seconds later when DeBlouw would add his second goal of the game. While on the power-play, Rupert’s shot was saved and the puck went to the back of the goal where DeBlouw gained control. He shot it off the back of the goalie and it rebounded into the net to tie the score once again.
Into overtime the contest went where Matt Finn would end it 1:29 into the extra session. While killing off a penalty, Rocco Carzo stole the puck at the blueline, as the penalty was expiring. He then led the Mavericks on an odd man rush, firing a shot that Greenham saved. However, Finn trailed the play and shot the rebound past the Wichita goalie for the game-winner. That gave the Mavericks their fifth win in their last six games.
Matt Finn would finish with 2-goals and an assist for the Missouri Mavericks. Darren Nowick would add 2-goals and Dane Fox had a goal and 3-assists. Jesse Graham had a goal and 2-assists, and Carter Verhaeghe, Rocco Carzo, and Dan Correale each added 2-assists. The Thunder were led by Zach O’Brien who had a goal and 3-assists. Jamie Doornbosch added 3-assists as well, and Ryan Rupert had a goal and 2-assists. Matt DeBlouw netted 2-goals.
These two teams will go at it again on Tuesday night when the Thunder return to Missouri to play. Game time is 7:05.
By Robert Pannier