Gems Turn Away Mavericks For Second Straight Win
Independence, MO - the Dayton Gems would utilize solid goaltending and their charged-up powerplay to keep ahead of the Missouri Mavericks, ultimately locking in a thrilling 6-3 win on the road for the team's second consecutive win this weekend against the "Mavs". Both teams complete the weekend series Saturday night in Independence, Missouri.
Seemingly picking up right where they left off one night prior, the Gems battled right out of the gates to begin the second of the three game series against the Mavericks, this time in front of a hostile crowd. The game, already a physical battle, turned to fisticuffs as newly acquired Gems toughguy Kevin Fukala tangled up with Missouri's Carlyle Lewis near the midway mark of the opener. With the crowd still buzzing off the skirmish, the Gems would feed off the energy to create a two man advantage, and capitalizing on the powerplay for the game's first goal at the 14:47 mark when Damian Surma and Tim Hartung set up a Brett Lutes shot in the slot to beat Mavericks starting netminder Charlie Effinger for Lutes'sixth goal of the season. Less than a minute later, again on the powerplay, Dayton's Brandon Naurato would slap in a shot from the far circle to extend the Gems lead to two at 15:19. As the period wore down, Gems netminder Larry Sterling would make several key saves to keep the game 2-0 at the horn, leading his club into the dressingroom after twenty minutes with the two goal lead, and a slight 10-9 edge in shots on goal.
Brett Lutes would again lead the offensive charge for the Gems, this time in the opening minutes of the second period, posting up for a clear shot past Effinger just 5:09 into the middle frame. The goal, his second of the night and sixth of the season, was assisted by linemate Damian Surma, and helped the Gems take 3-0 lead. Nearing the halfway mark of the game, Missouri would catch the Gems offguard defensively, creating a scramble in front of Sterling to eventually roof a wrister top shelf through a screen to cut the Dayton lead back down to two at 10:14. The Gems would once again call upon the veteran presence of Surma, as he once more clicked with Lutes and Matt Larke to blast in his first goal of the night to make it a 4-1 lead into the second intermission. The Mavericks held the edge in shots through the second twenty minutes for a two period total of 24-23.
Both teams would spend the third period trading goals, all while Gems netminder Larry Sterling handled an increased workload in the final period, with the Mavs nearly doubling the amount of shots sent his way from the prior frame. Missouri would kick off the scoring in the third, 5:15 in, to cut the Dayton lead back to two before Surma and Lutes helped feed linemate Matt Larke for this fourth lamplighter of the season to again extend the Gems lead to 5-2 just over a minute later at the 6:21 mark. Once again capitalizing on a Gems defensive lapse in front of Sterling, Missouri would bounce in a rebound goal on the powerplay at 7:53 to set up an exciting finish for the hometown Mavs fans until Dayton's Ben Winnett found his way onto the scoresheet with an empty net goal with exactly 1:00 left in regulation to seal the 6-3 final score after sixty minutes of play. Missouri would outshoot the Gems 27-9 in the third and would take away a final tally of 51-31 at the end of regulation.
Dayton would once again surge on the powerplay, going 2 for 5 with the man advantage, while the Mavs were 0 for their 4 chances with the powerplay.
With the win, Dayton picks up their second consecutive win over the Mavericks in as many nights, and improve their overall record to 8-5-4 for 19 points. The win also boosts the Gems one point ahead of the Mavericks in the Turner Conference standings, with two final points up for grabs on Saturday when Dayton and Missouri close out the weekend series.