INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Kansas City Mavericks are on the outside looking in as they head into the final week of the regular season.
The 33-30-3-2 Mavericks lost 6-3 against the Indy Fuel Friday night at Indiana Farmers Coliseum in the final game of a four-game road trip. The loss leaves the Mavericks three points out of playoff contention as Kalamazoo edged Norfolk 4-3 Friday night.
The Wings now have 74 points while the Mavericks and the Fuel (33-29-4-1) each have 71 and are tied for fifth place in the Central Division. The Fuel own a game in hand on both the Mavericks and the Wings.
“They buried their chances, we didn’t,” coach John-Scott Dickson said. “It’s disappointing. We kept cutting into the lead, but you can’t give up six goals.”
The first period started slow with both teams struggling to establish themselves in the offensive end, but the home team was able to jump on top as Logan Nelson fired a shot past Tyler Parsons from the slot with just over three minutes left in the opening frame for a 1-0 lead.
The deficit doubled for the Mavericks early in the second as Nelson scored again, a power play goal 1:12 into the middle frame for a 2-0 lead. Jared VanWormer responded four minutes later, scoring his team-leading 12th power play goal of the season to cut the deficit in half.
Indy’s Josh Shallam scored to give the Fuel a 3-1 advantage, but VanWormer’s second goal made it 3-2, giving the Mavericks new life.
But Michael Neal’s power-play goal with just six seconds left in the second period made it 4-2 going into the final 20 minutes of action.
“That was a big goal for Indy, a big goal in the game,” Dickson said. “They’re on the power play and our forward at the top doesn’t block a shot and they get behind our defense and score.”
Matt Robertson cut the deficit to one just five minutes into the third period with his 21st goal of the season, but the Fuel added two unanswered goals to cruise to the big win.
“At 4-3, we’re still in it,” Dickson added, “the fifth goal was huge. That one hurt. We just have to play better next week to keep playing for a spot in the playoffs.”
Parsons stopped 32 of 38 shots while Indy’s Etienne Marcoux stopped 25 of 28 attempts.
The Mavericks return home for their final two regular-season home games, at 7:05 p.m. Monday and Tuesday against Tulsa and Indy, respectively.