ALLEN, Texas – For one period, Missouri coach John-Scott Dickson experienced déjà vu as his Mavericks and the Allen Americans battled to a scoreless draw Wednesday night at the Allen Event Center.
It was much like last Wednesday’s 1-0 Allen victory at the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena in which the Mavericks offense never got in sync.
That was much the case at Allen as the Americans scored a second-period goal and added three third-period scores to hand the Mavericks a 4-1 loss.
“Very frustrating,” Dickson said by phone after his team dropped its fourth game in a row and fell to 8-10-1-2. “We’re concerned with the lack of offense we’ve been seeing recently, but guys continue making soft passes in the middle of the ice, and that’s not the way we do things. I guess Kyle (Hood, assistant coach) and I are going to have to find another way to get our point across, because we’re not playing the way we need to play to win games.
“We’re 21 games into the season and two games under .500 and we’re not improving like I thought we would after that (4-1) stretch on the road (two weeks ago).”
And things don’t get any easier as the Mavericks play at Tulsa Friday, play host to the Oilers Saturday and then travel to Wichita Sunday.
“Four games – with three on the road – at four different places in five days,” Dickson said. “That is a tough schedule, but it would be easier to deal with if we were playing better, and we will play better. We’re going to make some evaluations, and see where we are.”
The first period of Wednesday’s game was eerily similar to last week’s game between the two longtime rivals as the teams battled to a scoreless draw over the first 20 minutes.
Ville Husso made his first start in goal this season against Allen and was sharp early with saves on each of the 14 shots that he faced. Riley Gill, who made 24 saves in the shutout win against Missouri last Wednesday, was equal to the task at the other end with nine first-period saves.
Much of the second period was played on special teams as the Mavericks had a pair of power play chances and the Americans were awarded three. On Allen's second man advantage, the Mavericks looked to have a chance on a shorthanded rush but Shawn Pauly's centering pass missed Dan Correale and the Americans raced off the other way with numbers.
Their counter attack proved successful as Spencer Asuchak beat Husso from the slot at 11:31. The Mavericks nearly tied the game late in the second when Dane Fox sent Darren Nowick in alone on a shorthanded breakaway. Nowick's shot, though, clanged off the post to the left of Gill and the Americans took the one-goal lead into the third period.
In each of their last two games the Mavericks produced offensive outbursts at the start of the third period, and netted three goals within the first six minutes of play both times.
That was not the case at Allen, as Derek Mathers collected a rebound low on the right wing and lifted a shot across the goal line from a sharp angle just 37 seconds into the period.
Missouri’s Radoslav Illo scored for the third time in as many games in Allen when he jammed home a power play goal at 9:35, but that tally was sandwiched between two goals scored by the Americans off Mavericks turnovers. Gary Steffes notched his at 8:55, followed by Chad Costello at 9:56.
“Mistakes, not playing the way we practice – those things will be addressed, soon,” Dickson said before boarding the bus to Tulsa.