For two agonizing periods Saturday night at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena, the Kansas City Mavericks left their fans wondering when they would have the opportunity to throw their teddy bears onto the ice.
It was the annual Teddy Bear Toss charity game and after 40 minutes, the visiting Quad City Mallards held onto a 3-0 lead.
But hundreds of teddy bears – that will be distributed to area charities and hospitals in the metro area – flew onto the ice at 5:06 of the third period as Mike McMurtry slipped the puck past Mallards goalie Ivan Kulbakov to cut the deficit to two, in a game the Mallards went on to win 5-3.
That goal seemed to inspire the Mavericks as Mark Cooper followed with a quick goal and Justin Breton scored on a power-play opportunity to knot the score at 3-all at 13:31.
“I really thought we were back in the game and would have a great opportunity to win back-to-back games where we were down 3-0,” Mavericks coach John-Scott Dickson said after the Mavericks downed Kalamazoo 4-3 Friday night at SEC Arena after trailing 3-0.
But that scenario did not play out as Quad City’s Matt Pohlkamp scored the game-winner with just 1:23 left in the period. Brayden Low scored an empty-netter to account for the final score.
“We had no energy in the first period, none, and I just don’t understand that,” Dickson said. “We’ve been home all week and (Quad City) gets in at 5 this morning and they come out with more energy than we do? That’s not acceptable.
“I’m proud of the comeback, but we can’t keep getting ourselves in a situation where we have to come back from a 3-0 deficit.”
Team captain Tyler Elbrecht agreed with his coach.
“Obviously we have to quit giving teams three-goal leads,” said Elbrecht, whose hands were swollen and whose knuckles were bleeding after getting in four fights over the past two nights. “It was exhilarating when Mike got that goal and the teddy bears flew out on the ice.
“Those teddy bears are going to make a lot of little kids happy in the Kansas City area. I just wish we could have made our fans happy tonight with a win.”
McMurtry managed a smile after the tough loss when asked about his goal.
“I’ve played in a few teddy bear toss games,” McMurtry said, “but I’ve never scored the first goal like tonight. Our fans are the greatest. It was amazing to see how many teddy bears were out on the ice. They’re going to make a lot of kids happy at Christmas.”