WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – The Kansas City Mavericks have one game left this season, but it will not determine their playoff fate as a 6-5 overtime loss Friday night at the Maverik Center eliminated the Mavericks from postseason play for the second season in a row.
Utah Grizzlies captain Ryan Walters scored three minutes into overtime to lift Utah (27-29-9-6) over Kansas City (34-31-4-2) to
mathematically eliminate the Mavericks from playoff contention.
With Kalamazoo losing in a shootout and earning a point, even a win by the Mavericks wouldn’t have been enough to get them in the playoffs.
“I don’t think the guys knew, but we (Dickson and assistant coach Kyle Hood) knew that Kalamazoo was in overtime and that eliminated us before we lost in overtime – but the guys finished strong and I am proud of the way we played tonight,” Dickson said by phone. “We came out slow, but we fought back and kept fighting back. We’re down 5-3 in the third and tied it and sent it into overtime. We talked to the guys before the game and asked them how they wanted to be remembered.
“No one went out there and just went through the motions. The guys played hard, and we almost got a win. As it turns out, it wouldn’t have put us in a position to remain in the playoff race, but at least the guys can look in the mirror tonight and know they gave it everything they had.”
Utah scored on the team’s 13th shot of the night, with Kyle Thomas giving the Grizzlies a 1-0 edge.
Matt Robertson responded with just 1:16 left in the period, though, to even the score at 1-all.
The Mavericks claimed their first lead of the night early in the second as Mark Cooper scored at 6:18, but Utah responded 10 minutes later, with Thomas scoring his second goal to tie it 2-2.
The Mavericks regained the advantage off the ensuing faceoff, with Robertson scoring his second goal of the night. But Utah again knotted the score at 3-all going into the final period.
A wild start to the third period saw the Grizzlies build a 5-3 lead in the first 90 seconds of the third, scoring two quick goals from Jake Marchment and Brendan Harms.
Kansas City’s Jared VanWormer answered back quickly, scoring just one minute later to pull the Mavericks back within striking distance. Greg Betzold then delivered the tying goal with six minutes remaining in regulation and the game eventually headed to overtime.
That’s when the Grizzlies captain slipped the puck past Tyler Parsons for the game-winner.
The Mavericks wrap up their season at 8:05 p.m. Saturday against the Grizzlies at the Maverik Center.