INDEPENDENCE, Missouri – The Missouri Mavericks fought hard during their three game home stretch, and thanks in part to that hard work now command a 3-2 lead over the Rapid City Rush in this best of seven series.
Game 5 of the seven game series began with the Rapid City Rush dominating the Mavericks in on ice performance, the Mavericks looked tired and the Rush were fighting hard for the much needed win.
Rapid City Rush forward Rusty Masters lit the lamp with a top shelf wrister that sailed over the shoulder of Mavericks netminder Mike Clemente at the 2:45 mark, Scott Brannon and Taggert Desmet were credited with the assists. The Rapid City Rush were able to stave off the Mavericks for the duration of the first period, carrying that 1-0 lead into the intermission.
The first period was riddled with penalties, the most significant of which occurred 19:35 into the first period when Mavericks forward Colt King was sent to the box for Tripping. As King was escorted to the box he repeatedly turned and “loudly addressed” the referee. The third time he turned, the referee put his hands on his waist and announced a 10 Minute misconduct call for “Abuse of Officials”. Colt was sent from the penalty box to the locker room. The Mavericks fans, management, and coaching staff all expressed their displeasure with the referees call, but the period continued.
Mavericks netminder Mike Clemente made 6 saves in the first period, compared to Rush netminder Danny Battochio’s 5 saves.
It appeared that the second period would be a repeat of the first, the Mavericks continued to look tired and the Rush continued to look determined to win. Then, at the 10:09 mark of the second period Mavericks forward Kellan Tochkin received a perfect feed from CHL MVP and Mavericks Captain Sebastien Thinel and slipped the puck past Rapid City netminder Danny Battochio bringing the score to 1-1.
The Rush fought back hard for the remainder of the second period, and with just 2:07 remaining in the second period Rapid City Rush forward Rusty Masters mounted an offensive attack on the Mavericks goal and slapped the puck over the shoulder of Mavericks netminder Michael Clemente making it a 2-1 game for the Rush.
Through the second period the Mavericks had made 3 saves while the Rush made 6 saves.
From the very beginning of the third period it was clear that the Mavericks were not going to give up, and that in fact they had seemed to gain a new “energy”. However, it appeared that the Rush were going to be equal to the task, when out of nowhere the Mavericks seemed to come together.
Mavericks forward Ryan Jardine struck first, lighting the lamp at the 7:13 mark of the 3rd period, Blake Forsyth and Kellan Tochkin were given the assists, making the score 2-2.
Then, just seven minutes later at the 14:34 mark Mavericks forward Colt King wristed the puck between the feet and over the pad of Rush netminder Danny Battochio, making the score 3-2 for the Mavericks.
The Rush amped up the pressure but were unable to find the back of the Missouri net. Then, at the 18:18 mark Andrew Courtney and Colt King made a two on one play, Courtney slid the puck right into the stick of King who slapped it along the edge of Rush netminder Danny Battochio’s skate and into the net, making it a 4-2 game for the Mavericks.
With just under two minutes left in the game the Rush knew that the only oppurtunity to even things up would be to pull their netminder in favor of an extra skater, a tactic that allowed Mavericks forward Kenton Miller to slide the puck into an empty net from center ice at the 19:18 mark of the third, making it a 5-2 game for the Mavericks.
The Rush were forced to put their netminder back on the ice, and were unable to recover from the unexpected 4 goal third period by the Mavericks.
The Mavericks now command a 3-2 lead over the Rush in this best of seven series, however they travel to Rapid City to complete the last two games of the series. If they can win one, they will advance to Round 2 of the CHL Playoffs. However, if the Rush are able to hold them off, they will win the series and end Missouri’s season.
The teams meet on Tuesday April 9th in Rapid City to continue this battle.
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