Missouri Mavericks coach John-Scott Dickson liked what he saw at a brisk, enthusiast Monday morning practice session at the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for a lackadaisical 5-0 loss Saturday night at the iWireless Center in Moline, Ill., where the Quad City Mallards dominated all phases of the game.
It was the Mavericks’ second loss in a row to the Mallards and kept Missouri from picking up any ground on fourth-place Alaska, as the Aces dropped back-to-back games.
“The good news is, the Aces lost two games; the bad news is, we lost two games we desperately needed to win,” said Dickson, as fourth-place Alaska has 70 points and his sixth-place Mavericks have 64.
Fifth-place Utah, a team the Mavericks play the final three games of the regular season, has 65 points.
The top four teams from each division advance to postseason play.
The Mallards took a 2-0 first-period lead as Sam Warning picked up his 19th goal by beating Mavericks goaltender Josh Robinson to the glove side. Quad City extended its lead as Chase Lang scored his third goal of the season.
The Mallards found the net again 8:52 into the second period. Justin Kovacs buried his 15th goal of the season on a Mallards 4-on-3 power play. Guillaume Gelinas made it 4-0 for Quad City with 2:17 left in the period.
Andrew Panzarella closed out the scoring for the Mallards with a goal with 10:59 left in the game.
“Guys who normally don’t make mistakes, made some mistakes Saturday,” Dickson said. “And the guys who have been making mistakes, continued to make them – which is so frustrating.
“We had a meeting before the game, we addressed certain issues, and they go out and make the same, dumb mistakes. I know how much Kyle (Hood), Simon (Watson) and I want to win. We just want everyone else in the locker room to feel the same way.
“The lazy, stupid mistakes have to stop. You don’t make those mistakes if want to have any chance of making the playoffs. We’re playing for a spot in the playoffs, but you can’ tell it from the way some of the guys are approaching the games.”
Adam Vay earned the shutout with 33 saves. Robinson made 32 saves in a losing effort.
Team captain Andrew Courtney returned to the ice Monday morning, and could see action later this week.
“It was a good sign to see Courts back out for a full practice,” Dickson said of his former teammate, who has been sidelined with lower body issues. “We need him. We’re going to talk to (trainer) Nick (Potter) later today and see when he thinks Courts is ready to play.”