CINCINNATI – The Kansas City Mavericks got off to an explosive start in the first period of a three-game road trip through Ohio.
The the finish wasn’t so hot as the Cincinnati Cyclones stormed back to claim a 5-2 victory between the ECHL Central Division rivals Thursday night at U.S. Bank Arena.
The Mavericks scored twice in the first 10 minutes of the game to grab an early lead.
Jordan Kwas slipped an unassisted goal past Cincinnati goalie Jason Kasdorf at the 8:45 mark. Shawn Pauly scored his 12th goal of the season just 1:09 later on assists from Patch Alber and Nate Widman and the Mavericks appeared to be in command.
But the rest of the night belong to the Cyclones, as they scored five unanswered goals to improve to 25-18-2-0 while the Mavericks fell to 25-22-0-1.
Justin Danforth scored a power play goal at 18:14 of the first to cut the lead in half. Brycen Martin scored at 8:02 of the second and Eric Knodel scored twice to put the Cyclones ahead 4-2 after two period.
Brandon McNally put it out of reach for Cincinnati at the 9:10 mark of the third.
The loss, a third straight to Cincinnati since Feb. 2, dropped the Mavericks to fifth place in the Central Division with 51 points. Kalamazoo and the Cyclones are tied for fourth with 52 points, Fort Wayne is in second place with 62 points and first-place Toledo has 64 points.
The top four teams in each division advance to the postseason. The Mavericks did not make the playoffs last year for just the second time in the nine-year history of the team.
The Mavericks boarded a bus after the game to head to Toledo, where they play the top team in the division tonight and Saturday.
“We had our chances to score in the first two periods,” Mavericks coach John-Scott Dickson said by phone. “But we just can’t find a way to score. On the winning goal, we had two guys changing when they are coming at us and that is not good enough.”
Tyler Parsons was a surprise starter in goal for the Mavericks after being reassigned from the American Hockey League’s Stockton Heat earlier in the day. Mason McDonald was shipped to Stockton to take his place.
“Tyler is just here for one game and he’s going back to Stockton,” Dickson said.
McDonald is expected to return from Stockton to take Parsons’ place on the Mavericks roster.