Posted: Mar 15, 2012 7:10 AM by Dennis Bragg (KPAX/KAJ Media Center)
Updated: Mar 15, 2012 7:59 AM
MISSOULA- The Missoula Maulers got a scare Wednesday night as their 21-game home ice win streak was in danger, but came on strong in the closing minutes to pick up a 5-4 Game 2 playoff win in overtime.
The Maulers, playing for the second time in two nights against the Gillette Wild, weren't able to net a goal until the 13-minute mark of the second period, as the Wild controlled all the scoring in the first half of Wednesday night's contest. Gillette jumped out to a 2-0 lead, and then made it 3-1 as they scored just seconds after the Maulers first strike.
Missoula's Dustin Pierce made it closer with a goal in the opening 2-minutes of the third period, but the Wild scored again, making it look like the Maulers home ice luck had run out.
But Ian Johnson stepped forward again with a key assist to Corey Schafer at 17:45, with Schafer and Brett Matthews teaming up with Jimmy Morris on a risky move to pull the goalie in the closing seconds, giving the Maulers an extra attacker and the score that tied the game, forcing OT.
Zach Paisley took a feed from Ian Johnson just 36-seconds into the extra frame to give the Maulers the 5-4 win, moving them ahead 2-0 in the seven game series.
Once more the Maulers pounded the Wild net with a whopping 62-shots on goal although Gillette stopped Missoula from scoring on any of its half-dozen power play opportunities.
The Maulers will travel to Wyoming for the next three games, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
In the other AWHL playoff series, Helena flipped Tuesday's 5-1 loss to Billings to a 5-1 win Wednesday night, evening that series 1-1.