There was enough steam pouring out of the ears of Kansas City Mavericks coach John-Scott Dickson following Friday night’s sloppy 5-2 loss to Rapid City that it could have melted the ice inside the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena.
The 23-19-0-1 Mavericks are battling for their playoff lives, and turned in one of the most lackluster performances of the season against a 15-24-2-0 Rush squad that trailed 1-0 just 1 minute, 50 seconds into the game on a goal by newcomer John Schiavo.
The rest of the night belonged to the Rush’s Adam Vay, the ECHL’s reigning Goaltender of the Week; Pavel Jenys, who had two goals and an assist after returning from the Iowa Wild; and Chase Lang, who added a goal and three assists.
Dickson was also upset that goalie Tyler Parsons failed to join his teammates for the nightly postgame salute to the fans, as he skated into the locker room following the loss. It was Parsons’ first start with the Mavericks since he came back from their American Hockey League affiliate in Stockton this week.
“We had a great start and then, I guess the guys thought it would be easy because we’re playing a Rush team with a losing record,” said a fuming Dickson, whose team dropped to fourth place in the Central Division with 47 points (they were passed by Kalamazoo, with 48 points).
“Winning is hard. We weren’t greasy enough out there tonight. We didn’t play as hard as Rapid City played. We need to fight. Some of the guys in that locker room need to learn that. That’s why they’re in this league – they need to learn to win and they need to play more consistently. We better see a better team effort tomorrow night.”
He did not want to comment on Parsons’ night.
Vay starred in the net for the Rush, who are in last place in the ECHL’s Mountain Division, stopping 36 of 38 shots on goal.
“We are playing for pride,” Vay said. “Pavel and Matt (Calto) returned to the team and that makes us a better team. I did not worry about giving up that early goal, because I knew we would score more goals tonight.”
Pavel scored in the first and second period as the Rush took a 3-1 lead into the final period. The Rush added two goals to make it 5-1 before Mavericks forward Mark Cooper scored his 12th goal of the season to account for the final score.
“We got up on them early,” said Schiavo, who scored his first ECHL goal, “and then let it get away from us. We play them again tomorrow night and we need to come out hard from the opening and keep playing hard – the way we played last weekend when we beat Toledo (Saturday and Sunday nights).”