PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. – The Arizona Sundogs made the most of the home ice advantage they stole from the first place Missouri Mavericks and turned it into a 3-1 victory and a 2-1 series lead on Wednesday in front of 1,259 fans at Tim’s Toyota Center. The win was Arizona’s first playoff victory on home ice since 2008 when the Sundogs went all the way to win the Ray Miron Presidents’ Cup.
Goalie Andrew Engelage would once again be a solid presence in net, stopping 31-of-32 Missouri shots, including a series of point-blank attempts in the second period with Engelage sprawled on his stomach in the crease.
The Mavericks would get the only goal of the first period on a power play tally by Andrew Courtney, assisted by Matt Stephenson and Eric Castonguay, when Sundogs’ forward Tommy Maxwell was in the box for interference. Arizona went into the first intermission without lighting the lamp, but not for lack of trying, as they put 18-shots on Missouri goalie Shane Owen, who turned them all away with ease. Owen would end the game with 38-saves on 41-shots.
Sundogs coach Kevin Colley must have given a powerful speech during the first intermission, because Arizona came out of the tunnel fired up and driving hard for the net. At 8:07 of the second frame, Maverick Colt King took a penalty for interference and Sundogs forward David Rutherford would capitalize on the opportunity, assisted by Mike Forney, to level the score.
Three and a half minutes later, Arizona defenseman Michael Trebish would score his first goal of the season, the eventual game-winner, and put his team ahead. Rutherford and Shawn Limpright would get the helpers on Trebish’s goal.
With the middle frame winding down, Sundogs forward Kevin Baker would extend his team’s lead, assisted by Alex Tuckerman and Brandon Coccimiglio, with the final goal of the night.
The Mavericks would take 14-shots on goal in the third, but Arizona would close ranks in front of Engelage’s crease and deny them all. A good deal of those shots would come halfway through the period when Missouri would get a 5-on-3 powerplay for over a minute.
Arizona and Missouri will play their next two games at Tim’s Toyota Center on Friday and Saturday with the Sundogs seeking to win the series on home ice and the Mavericks hoping to force further games in Missouri.
Photos courtesy of Matt Santos (msantosphotographer.com)