Mavericks Force Game 5 with 2-1 Win Over Thunder
WICHITA, Kansas - The Missouri Mavericks forced a decisive Game 5 with a 2-1 win Tuesday night over the Wichita Thunder at INTRUST Bank Arena. Mavericks' goaltender Robby Nolan was the difference in the game as the CHL's Most Outstanding Goaltender stopped 38 of 39 shots. Forward Nick Sirota scored the game-winning goal and the Mavericks will head home for a winner-moves-on game Wednesday night at Independence Events Center. Tickets are available by calling (800) 745-3000, visiting www.Ticketmaster.com or going to the Independence Events Center Box Office.
The goaltenders showcased their talents in the first period as the two teams skated to a scoreless first period for the first time in the series. It was not without chances as there were a total of 24 shots on goal, but both Nolan and Wichita goaltender Marc-Antoine Gelinas did not allow a goal after the first 20 minutes.
The Mavericks opened the scoring in the second period just as Missouri came off a power play. Forward Toby Lafrance skated down the right wing and lifted a wrist shot from the right circle that beat Gelinas short side. Less than a minute later, the Mavericks took a 2-0 lead on Sirota's second goal of the post-season. Mavericks' defenseman Jared Lavender came into the Thunder zone along the left wing, put on the brakes, and made a nice centering pass to Sirota who redirected the puck past Gelinas.
The Mavericks two-goal lead was short lived as the Thunder answered just nine seconds after the Mavericks goal. Forward Jesse Bennefield took a feed from Brent Cullaton who was behind the net and Bennefield snuck the puck through a small opening between Nolan and the goal post. In total, the three goals in the second period were scored just 1:04 apart, but the Mavericks held on to the lead through the first two periods and were outshooting Wichita 26-22 including 16-8 in the second period.
The Mavericks were forced to kill four penalties in the third period including 54 seconds of a two-man advantage, but the Mavs' penalty killers and goaltender Nolan were up to the task. Missouri didn't allow the Thunder to score the equalizer despite allowing 17 shots in the third period.
Missouri finished 0-for-6 on the power play, but didn't allow a power play goal to the Thunder who had seven power play opportunities. Wichita also had a 5-on-3 advantage three separate times, but were unable to solve the Mavericks' defense.
The Mavericks will host the Thunder at the IEC on Wednesday at 7:05pm in the fifth and deciding game of the series. Tickets are available for game five through www.Ticketmaster.com, the Independence Events Center box office or by calling (800) 745-3000.
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