The fans at the Independence Events Center stood and gave the Missouri Mavericks one last rousing ovation after Tuesday’s season-ending 4-3 double-overtime loss to the Arizona Sundogs.
Arizona’s Kevin Baker scored his second goal of the game with 51.3 seconds left in the second overtime, propelling the Sundogs to the Central Hockey League semifinals.
It was the Mavericks’ second consecutive overtime loss to Arizona. Missouri had finished atop the CHL regular-season standings and swept Arizona in the regular season.
All they could do in the aftermath of Tuesday’s loss was wonder how it got away from them.
“Two games in a row we had the game to win and gave it away,” Mavericks coach Scott Hillman said. “This whole series, we didn’t play like we played all year. We were such a good defensive team all year, and we made gigantic mistakes going back to game two. It snowballed. Mistake after mistake after mistake. If there was something that could go wrong, it went wrong in the last five games.”
The Sundogs’ ability to come back proved to be the deciding factor in the series. They scored in the final minute and tied game five before winning in overtime.
Sundogs goalie Andrew Engelage thwarted a Missouri power play in overtime with two acrobatic saves, keeping the game alive after the Sundogs were called for too many men on the ice.
Missouri also generated better scoring opportunities in the second overtime but couldn’t beat Engelage.
Mavericks goalie Shane Owen came though with a great glove save midway through the second overtime before Arizona scored the game-winner.
“We seemed to carry the play and have more energy,” Hillman said. “But again, big mistakes. It’s hard to explain that when you play so solid for so many games. Everything fell apart. It’s just heartbreaking.”
Missouri had another scoring chance midway through the first overtime. A shot rang off the post and trickled near the goal line before an Arizona player pushed the puck out of harm’s way. The goal judge turned on the red lamp, but no on-ice official signaled a goal.
Arizona’s Paul McIllveen and Shawn Limpwright scored in the third period, tying the game. Both goals were on the power play, and both players were alone in the crease to stuff home easy rebounds.
The Mavericks failed to convert on their lone powe- play opportunity in the third period.
Missouri took control of the game in the second period with some patience and opportunistic defense. Eric Castonguay took a feed from Mike Ramsay and Sebastien Thinel and buried it, giving the Mavericks a 2-1 lead on a play that started with an Arizona turnover at the blue line.
Colten Hayes made it 3-1 barely 3 minutes later off assists from Thinel and Castonguay.
Owen helped keep the momentum going just moments later. The Sundogs caught Missouri in a change and turned it into a three-on-one rush. Owen stopped the opportunity with a quick glove save.
The Mavericks got on the board first at the 13:36 mark of the first period.
Obi Aduba found a lane down the center of the ice, swooped around the Arizona net and found Ramsay on the right wing. Ramsay beat Engelage through the five-hole.
Arizona tied the game with just 1:04 left in the first period, when Baker stuffed home a rebound in front of the Missouri net.