For the first time in team history, the Mavericks came into a game with a winning record. After last weekend’s home sweep of the Mississippi RiverKings, the Mavs record coming into tonight’s game with the Allen Americans was 17-16-3. Allen would not be such a simple foe, however, as the Americans currently sit in second place in the Southern Conference with a record of 25-9-2 and lead the CHL in goals allowed (only 97 goals allowed through 36 games).
Allen would put their stingy defense on display in the first period of play, as they refused to let the Mavericks’ aggressive offense ignite. The Mavericks did get a few good scoring opportunities though. Mavs forwards Jeff Christian and Simon Watson exchanged several well executed passes through the Allen defense, but in the end Allen goalie Chris Whitley turned Christian’s slapshot aside. Mavs rookie forward Nick Sirota may have had the best opportunity of the session, when his persistent forecheck resulted in a turnover by the Allen defense and he broke in alone on a breakaway. Sirota, who leads all CHL rookies in scoring, streaked in on Whitley, only to have the puck roll off of his stick without even getting a shot off. Allen would tally the only goal of the period, when Americans captain Jarret Lukin beat Mavs goalie Alexandre Vincent at the 15:37 mark; Vincent’s only blemish in an otherwise stellar period. The goose-egg on the scoreboard for the Mavs broke their streak of scoring in eight straight periods.
Allen would extend their lead, only 54 seconds into the second period. Allen defenseman Jordie Benn beat Vincent for his fifth goal of the season. The Mavs would come charging back, though. Mavs captain Carlyle Lewis would cut the Americans’ lead in half, when he blasted a beautiful pass from Jeff Christian to beat Whitley at the 7:03 mark. Not to be outdone by his counterpart, Lukin would return the two-goal lead to Allen with his second goal of the game only two minutes later. It would appear that the 3-1 score would hold into the 3rd period, until Allen winger Liam Huculak deflected a shot from the point to extend the lead to 4-1 with only 12 seconds left in the second session.
A three goal deficit going in to the third period is challenging for any team, but the Mavericks have been quite prosperous during the last 20 minutes as of late. In the previous three games, the Mavericks had tallied nine goals in the third period. This should have at least provided a glimmer of hope for the Mavs, but Allen had no intentions of budging. The combined efforts of Whitley and the Allen defense thwarted any offensive that was launched by the Mavs. The game would end with Allen on top 4-1.
– Allen captain Jarret Lukin was named the 1st Star of the game, Allen goalie Chris Whitley the 2nd Star, and Mavs captain Carlyle Lewis the 3rd Star.
– There were a couple of roster moves prior to tonight’s game. The Mavericks traded forward Chad Hinz to the Arizona Sundogs for two players to be named later. They also signed defenseman Rob Smith, who was in the starting lineup tonight.
– Mavs forward Brett Hammond was named Alternate Captain to replace Chad Hinz.
– Jeff Christian extended his scoring streak to 13 straight games with his assist on Carlyle Lewis’s goal, and his team point lead to 48 points (20 goals, 28 assists).
– The Mavericks next game is an important one, as the take on Mississippi for sole possession of 4th place in the North Conference.