For one period Wednesday night at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena, the Kansas City Mavericks looked like world beaters.
Shawn Pauly continued his red-hot play at home, scoring the Mavericks first goal, and Tyler Parsons was a brick wall in the net, stopping 11 Kalamazoo shots on goal.
But the fired-up, inspired 11-9-0-0 Mavericks that dominated play in the first period must have disappeared in the locker room between periods as Kalamazoo scored a quick second-period goal to even the score at 1-all and added three goals in the third period to claim a 4-1 victory that left coach John-Scott Dickson hot under the collar.
“We played well the first period, then we looked sluggish and the game was decided by the ST (special teams) play – we go 0-for-4 on the power play and have trouble getting a shot off and they score on a power play,” Dickson said. “You’re going to give up some power-play goals, that’s hockey, but we’ve played well on the power play and penalty kill – but not tonight.”
Joel Martin stood tall in the net for the 7-6-1-1 Wings, stopping 32 of 33 shots.
“We ran into a hot goaltender, it happens,” said Mavericks rookie goalie Tyler Parsons, who stopped 28 of 31 attempts (the final Kalamazoo goal was an empty netter in the closing seconds). “We just have to come back and get them Friday.”
The Wings will play a second consecutive game at the SEC Arena at 7:05 p.m. Friday. The Mavericks then play host to the Quad City Mallards at 7:05 p.m. Saturday.
Kansas City struck first on a Pauly redirection eight minutes into the first period. Justin Breton and Kayle Doetzel, who shot the wrister that found Pauly’s stick, assisted on the play.
Kalamazoo drew even in the second as Tyler Heinonen scored just 1:17 into the period.
The Wings took over in the third period, getting goals from Eric Kattelus and Scott Henegar. Heinonen added an empty netter for the 4-1 final.
“We’re missing some key guys (Rocco Carzo, Eric Freschi, Darren Nowick and leading scorer Matt Robertson), but injuries are a part of hockey,” Dickson said. “This is the opportunity for some other guys to step up, and no one stepped up tonight.
“Pauly continues to play good, solid hockey. We need some other guys to do that, too.”
Captain Tyler Elbrecht said the team needs to play with more energy.
“We need to come out Friday with a lot of energy and take control early,” said Elbrecht, who fired up the crowd of 2,940 with a fight at 11:17 of the second period. “There is no excuse to play like we played tonight. We’d been on the road, but Kalamazoo had to bus here and they came out and played a strong game.
“We need some guys to step up – and I’m putting myself in that group – and we need to embrace the challenge of missing some top scorers and come out and put the puck in the net.”