4/12/2014 6:02:00 AM Game 4: Missouri 3, Sundogs 1 Power play for both teams making the difference as Mavs tie Sundogs
Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier Arizona defensemen Matt McCready and Michael Trebish put the squeeze on Missouriís Anders Franzon during Game 4 Friday night in Prescott Valley. The Mavs won to even their best-of-7 series at two games apiece.
The Arizona Sundogs and the Missouri Mavericks are all tied up at two games apiece in their best of seven CHL playoff series. Here are some highlight photos from the two games played so far at Tim's Toyota Center in Prescott Valley.
(1) Missouri vs. (8) SUNDOGS
Game 1: Missouri 5, Sundogs 3
Game 2: Sundogs 4, Missouri 3
Game 3: Sundogs 3, Missouri 1
Game 4: Missouri 3, Sundogs 1
Game 5: Saturday, at Arizona, 7:05
Game 6: Tuesday, at Missouri, 5:05
*Game 7: Wednesday, at Missouri, 5:05
Elsewhere in the CHL playoffs Friday:
The Brampton Beast won Game 4 of their series against the Allen Americans, 4-2, to avoid elimination at home. The Beast trails the best-of-seven set, 3-1.
Meanwhile, the Rapid City Rush evened their series versus the Quad City Mallards at 2-2 after a 3-1 victory in Moline, Ill.
And the Tulsa Oilers are now tied with the Denver Cutthroats at 2-2 in their series following the Oilers' 6-2 win on the road.
By Ed Wisneski Special to the Courier
PRESCOTT VALLEY, Arizona - If the eighth-seeded Arizona Sundogs can upset the top-seeded Missouri Mavericks in the first round of the Central Hockey League playoffs, they'll have to do it at the Independence Events Center. The Mavs assured themselves a return to their home ice with a 3-1 victory Friday night before 2,714 fans at Tim's Toyota Center to even the best-of-seven series at two victories apiece.
The Sundogs have only one remaining home game in the series tonight at 7:05. The sixth game moves next Tuesday to Missouri - where the Mavs have a 22-11-2 record this season - and the seventh, if necessary, will be played Wednesday.
After losing the last two games to the Sundogs, Mavericks' goaltender Shane Owen made sure his team avoided its first three-game losing streak of the season with a strong performance in his 37th win of the year, a club record. He stopped 40 shots, including 29 in the first two periods when the Sundogs failed to capitalize on three power play opportunities. The Sundogs have out-shot the Mavericks, 156-118, in the four games.
"Our special teams made a huge contribution to our win tonight," Mavericks' coach Scott Hillman said.
Missouri showed why it is the top power-play team in the CHL by scoring twice in the first two periods in man-up situations. In the playoff series, Missouri has scored six power play goals in 16 opportunities. The Mavs also lead the CHL in penalty-killing and have limited the Sundogs to only two power play goals in 13 chances in the series.
"Our goal was to have zero minor penalties against them [the team had six]," Sundogs' coach Kevin Colley said. "We didn't come ready to play tonight. We didn't win the wall battles and the foot races. We were just throwing pucks and not hitting to make plays. We played soft. Even though we had 41 shots, we didn't challenge their goaltender. Not all our skilled players showed up tonight."
The Sundogs did not score until 1:59 left in the game when Matt McCready put the puck past Owen on assists by Mike Forney and David Rutherford. Even though the red light went on, the referee waived off the apparent score and play continued. After consulting with the linesmen and goal judge, the goal was allowed to cut the Mavericks' lead to 2-1. After Sundogs' goaltender Andrew Engelage was pulled from the net, Missouri defenseman Anders Franzon pushed the puck into the open net after his initial shot was blocked to clinch the victory.
"You have two great goaltenders facing each other," Hillman said. "On Wednesday [Sundogs' 3-1 win], Engelage was outstanding and Owen was good. Tonight, Owen was outstanding and Engelage was good. They [Sundogs] are as good a hockey team we've seen. This is a classic playoff series."
Owen was selected first-team All-CHL in a vote by the head coaches, and Engelage was chosen CHL Goaltender of the Year in a vote by coaches, club media relations directors, and selected members of the media.
Eight minutes into the first period, Andrew Courtney, the CHL Player of the Month in March, tipped in a slap shot by Eric Castonguay on a power play. It extended Courtney's streak to nine consecutive games with at least one goal (the CHL record is 14) and 19 straight outings with one or more points, the longest string of the season in the league. Courtney raised his season total to a club-record 38 goals.
The Mavs went up 2-0 nine minutes into the second period when Mike Ramsay slapped the puck by Engelage. Missouri playmaker extraordinaire Sebastien Thinel picked up assists on both goals, boosting his CHL career total to 613, second highest in league history.
"We now have a short series," Hillman said. "The next game [Saturday night] is huge. Someone will have a distinct advantage when they leave here tomorrow."