MOLINE, Ill. – For the second night in a row, the Missouri Mavericks came out strong in the first period, only to watch their opponent dominate the second and third periods.
Like in Tuesday’s 4-1 home loss to the Allen Americans, the Mavericks took a 1-0 first-period lead Wednesday and never found the net again in what turned out to be a 5-1 loss to the host Quad City Mallards at the i-wireless Center.
Eric Castonguay scored a power play goal at 5:43 of the first period on assists from Sebastien Thinel and Anders Franzon. The Mavericks took that 1-0 lead into the second period, and for the second night in a row allowed three second-period goals.
“Totally unacceptable,” Mavericks coach Scott Hillman said by phone after a lengthy meeting with his team. “We can't allow calls or mistakes to allow us to throw away 20 solid minutes of hockey. After a very good, strong first period, we just self-destructed.”
The Mavericks fell to 33-15-12 but maintained their hold on first place in the Central Hockey League despite the loss. Quad City picked up two points to move past Brampton into fifth place in the standings with 60 points.
Hillman was upset that his team has failed to pad it lead with two straight losing efforts.
“Their goalie (Ty Rimmer) did a nice job, but we have to do a better job putting the puck in the back of the net,” Hillman said. “There were some questionable calls in the second period, and we allowed our emotions to take over. We can't allow that to happen with what we believe are the biggest games of the season coming up – the end of the regular season, and then, what we are hoping for, a long postseason run.”
Nick Grasso and Justin Fox scored even-strength goals and Nicholas Rioux added a power-play goal – all with the first 8:06 of the period – to give the Mallards a 3-1 lead entering the final period.
Gabriel Levesque then scored power-play and even-strength goals to seal the win for the Mallards (26-15-8).
The Mavericks went 1-for-8 on the power-play and gave up the two Mallard power play goals. But it was the penalties that got the attention after the game as Missouri totaled 66 minutes on 21 penalties, including two game misconducts. One misconduct sent trainer Bill Murray to the locker room late in the third period with a misconduct for obscene language. Murray also received a bench minor for language at the 3:27 mark of the third period, the same time Castonguay was called for roughing. Levesque scored his power play goal 48 seconds later.
For the second game in a row, the Mavericks ran into a hot goalie as Ty Rimmer turned back 30 of 31 shots for the Mallards. Erno Suomalainen stopped 23 of 28 shots for Missouri.
“We have to learn from our mistakes tonight,” Hillman said. “If we don't, then it's just a very tough loss. If we learn something from this, and don't allow it to happen again, it is a bit easier to take. We're taking the day off tomorrow, but we're getting back to work Friday in St. Charles.”
The Mavericks are in the toughest part of their schedule where they play five games in six days at three different sites. The Mavericks travel to St. Charles, Mo., to take on the last-place Chill Friday. The Mavericks return to the Independence Events Center for a 7:05 p.m. game against the Wichita Thunder on Saturday and a 4:05 p.m. Sunday contest against the Chill. Tickets remain for both games.