MOLINE, Ill. – The Missouri Mavericks suffered a loss – and another lost opportunity – Friday night at the iWireless Center as the Quad City Mallards jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead and held on for a 3-2 victory.
“Even if we would have tied or won this one, I can’t say we would have earned it the way we played tonight,” Mavericks coach John-Scott Dickson said by phone. “It’s another lost opportunity. They’re a very good team, and they played well tonight. But we’re playing for our playoff lives and you couldn’t tell that by the way we played.
“I’m disappointed. We had our chances, and we didn’t take advantage of them.”
The Mavericks fell to 28-25-3-5 and have 64 points in the ECHL’s Mountain Division. They trail fifth place Utah by just one point and fourth place Alaska by five. The top four teams in each division advance to the playoffs. (Utah lost Friday night and Alaska and Cincinnati were scoreless in the first period at press time).
Dickson pulled goalie Stephon Williams with 1:46 left in the third period, and the Mavericks came close to netting the tying goal.
“We had a great opportunity to tie it off a 6-on-5 faceoff late in the game,” Dickson added, “but we weren’t quick enough. It was like that all night. We created a couple of scoring opportunities – like (Eric) Scheid taking the puck away from their goalie (Adam Vay), to score our second goal.
“We’re down 2-0, 2-1, 3-1 and then 3-2 and we had so many chances. I just don’t get the sense of urgency I expect from the guys. We needed this win tonight, and we weren’t able to get it.”
The Mallards jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead as Michael Parks and Brady Brassart scored back-to-back goals early in the first period.
Conner Bleackley, who had three assists in his Mavericks debut last Sunday, scored his second goal of the season at 19:50 of the first to cut the Mallards’ lead to 2-1 after one period.
“I thought scoring that late goal might give us some momentum going into the second period,” Dickson added, “but it didn’t.”
After an uneventful first 15 minutes of the second period, Nolan Laporte cashed in on a turnover in the Mavericks’ zone to make it 3-1 with 4:52 left.
“You can’t make that type of mistake at this point of the season,” Dickson said.
Scheid narrowed the deficit to 3-2 late in the third period as he collected a puck Vay distributed without knowing the rookie forward was near the goal and shot it into an empty net.
“We have to come out tomorrow like we really want it,” Dickson said. “I want it, our coaches want it, and I know a lot of the guys on the team want it – but it we need everyone to want it if we’re going to make the playoffs.”