It was nothing more than a glorified practice session, but don’t try telling that to more than 1,500 Kansas City Mavericks fans, who visited Silverstein Eye Centers Arena Wednesday night for the team’s annual intrasquad game.
“Our fans, man, they’re the best,” said longtime fan favorite Rocco Carzo, who drew some oohs and ahhs when he blocked a shot in the second period after returning from a torn ACL injury that put him on the sidelines for most of last season. “The new guys are like, ‘All these fans come for a scrimmage?’ And we’re like, ‘Wait till next Friday.’”
Next Friday, Oct. 12, is the season opener as the Mavericks play host to rival Allen in a 7:05 p.m. game at SEC Arena.
When asked about his first game-like situation following last season’s injury, Carzo grinned and said, “I forgot how much it hurt to block a shot – especially when it hits nothing but (my unprotected side).
“But I never once felt concerned about the knee. I worked harder last year than I have ever worked in my life and the end result was tonight – playing pain free, and feeling like I could contribute to a successful season for this team.”
Coach John-Scott Dickson liked what he saw from Carzo, and most of his teammates.
“Rocco was Rocco,” Dickson said. “He’s a gamer, a leader. How about blocking that shot tonight? That was vintage Rocco Carzo. It’s going to be great to have him back this season.”
Team Black took an early 2-0 lead in the game and held on for a 3-2 shootout victory over Team White.
Corey Durocher and Justin Breton scored for Team Black against goalie Ben Halford and John Schiavo and Jared VanWormer scored for Team White against Nick Schneider.
Team Black then won a shootout to claim the scrimmage victory.
“It just happened to be a tie game,” Dickson said, “we’d planned on a shootout no matter what the final score.
“You know, I saw some good things from some guys, and other guys, who are battling for a spot in what I believe is the most competitive camp of the past three years, didn’t show me much, didn’t show me what I was looking for.
“There are going to be some cuts in this camp. We dressed 28 tonight and Stockton is sending us another player Thursday and we’re going to be getting some defensemen. We have two exhibition games (this weekend in Allen) and that’s all we’re going to have to go by before we make our final cuts.”
MAVS ADD FORWARD: Forward Zach Fischer has been re-assigned to Kansas City from Stockton.
Fischer, 21, was the Calgary Flames’ fifth-round pick (140th overall) in the 2017 NHL Draft. Last season he completed his junior career with the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL.
The 6-foot-1, 196-pound forward had spent the previous three seasons with the Medicine Hat Tigers. He is expected to be in Independence today.