There was no post-game tirade from coach John-Scott Dickson following Saturday’s disappointing 4-1 loss to the Cincinnati Cyclones.
There were no team meetings, heartfelt chats or pleas for improved play.
He had just witnessed his team drop two games to an ECHL Central Division rival by a combined 9-2 score, and he was simply at a loss for words.
“The yelling doesn’t mean a thing if you have to do it after every game,” Dickson said Saturday night after his 25-21-0-1 team dropped its second game in as many nights to the 24-18-2-0 Cyclones. “They just tune you out. There are pros in that room, and they need to start playing like pros.”
After the lost weekend against the Cyclones, the Mavericks remain in third place in the Central Division with 51 points, followed by Kalamazoo and Cincinnati, each with 50. The Mavericks, however, have played three more games than Kalamazoo and Cincinnati.
The Mavericks headed into the weekend series confident and ready for the Cyclones following a dominating 4-2 win over Colorado at home on Tuesday. But a lackluster performance Friday was followed by an even more lifeless performance Saturday.
“We lost two of our better players (Darren Nowick and Mike McMurtry, who were recalled by the team’s American Hockey League affiliate Stockton) and we get no response from the guys Friday or Saturday,” the coach added. “We’re not the only team in this league who has players called up.
“That’s why we’re here! To develop players and have them make it to Stockton or Calgary. We have guys who are the getting the chance to make an impact, to do something good for this team. And they’re not taking advantage of the opportunity.”
Dickson hopes the Mavericks can turn it around Thursday when they travel to Cincinnati to face the Cyclones again at 6:35 p.m. (Central time) at U.S. Bank Arena.
“We play Cincinnati again Thursday at their place and we better play a lot better than we played here – a lot better,” Dickson said. “Everyone better show up ready to play.”
Much like Friday’s contest, the Cyclones were able to get the early edge and lead after one period, scoring with less than four minutes remaining in the opening frame.
The Cyclones seized control of the game by tacking on two more in the first 6:46 of the second period, goals from Anthony Florentino (just 50 seconds in) and Justin Vaive, for a commanding 3-0 lead.
The Mavericks got on the board midway through the second with a power-play goal on a puck that kicked in off a skate, credited to Shawn Pauly for his 11th of the season, to cut it to 3-1 after two periods.
Cincinnati stopped all momentum Kansas City had built with a goal from Winston Day Chief just 2:11 into the third period, grabbing the 4-1 lead.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN: The Mavericks hit the road for the first time in a month as they head to Ohio for three games. Kansas City, which enters the road trip with a 14-9-0-0 road record this season, will face Central Division foe Cincinnati on Thursday and Toledo on Friday and Saturday. The Mavericks then return home again for another eight-game home stand, starting with a doubleheader against the Indy Fuel Feb. 16-17 and a Sunday afternoon game against Florida on Feb. 18.
COOPER STREAK: Forward Mark Cooper enters Thursday’s game on a six-game scoring streak with seven points in that span, four goals and three assists. The Toronto, Ontario, native has reached the 30-point mark on the season with his recent spurt, and is second on the team in scoring behind McMurtry (32).
BIG HELPERS: Two defensemen, Bryce Aneloski and Patch Alber, lead the Mavericks in assists. Aneloski leads the way with 22 assists and Alber has totaled 21. Aneloski’s mark is already a career-high with 25 games remaining in the regular season, while Alber is still eyeing his high-water mark of 36 assists, set last year with Adirondack.