Last Thursday, the Kansas City Mavericks had three goalies.
Monday, they did not have a warm body to place in the net.
“Guess it’s lucky for us we don’t play until Friday,” Mavericks coach John-Scott Dickson said after goaltender Mason McDonald was recalled to the American Hockey League’s Stockton Heat earlier Monday morning. “That leaves us without a goalie. Tyler (Parsons) is in Stockton and he’s hurt, and the Rangers recalled Chris (Nell) to Hartford.
“It’s all pretty crazy right now.”
Dickson had a handwritten list of potential goalies on a paper near the phone on his desk and was going to do his best to get someone to fly to Independence as soon as possible. He’s dealing with this situation following an 0-3 road trip through Ohio that saw his 25-24-0-1 team drop to fifth place in the ECHL’s Central Division.
The top four teams in each division reach the postseason, and if the season ended today, the Mavericks would fail to reach the playoffs for the second year in a row and the third time in the nine-year history of the franchise.
“We can’t score, that’s basically it,” Dickson said. “We lose 5-0 Saturday and 2-1 Friday (both losses against the Central Division leading Toledo Walleye). We played a great game Friday, and came up a goal short. We did not play well Saturday. Toledo dominated every phase of that game.
“I know the lack of offense is getting into the guys’ heads. We have to find a way to score, and believe me, Hoodie (assistant coach Kyle Hood) and I are working on it.”
The Mavericks have not scored more than two goals in a game since a Jan. 30 win over Colorado, a game in which Mike McMurtry and Darren Nowick returned from Stockton. The last time the Mavericks scored four was a Jan. 21 win over Toledo to close out a series win over the Central Division leader.
Dickson’s team has been shut out three times this season and there appears to be no cure in sight.
Connor Crisp led the way for the Walleye Saturday with a hat trick, the first by a Mavericks opponent since Bryan Moore on March 29, 2017. Matej Machovsky (22 saves) and Pat Nagle combined for the shutout, the second at the hands of Toledo this season.
The game featured a huge multi-player brawl in the third period that resulted in the Mavericks and Walleye combining for 91 penalty minutes for the game. Both goalies, McDonald and Toledo’s Machovsky, fought and were tossed with game misconduct penalties, along with Kansas City’s Danny Smith and Toledo’s Connor Crisp, for secondary fights. Garrett Klotz received a 10-minute cross checking penalty, giving Toledo a 10-minute power play.
“I know it’s getting old, but every game from here on out is like a playoff game,” said Dickson, whose team opens an eight-game homestand with games Friday and Saturday against the Indy Fuel and Sunday afternoon against the Florida Everblades.
“We have to start playing better hockey, and to do that, we have to find a way to get the puck in the back of the net. And we have to find a goalie. Heck, whoever we sign should be excited because he’s going to start Friday.”
MAVS ACQUIRE CENTER: On Monday the Mavericks announced a future considerations trade for Idaho Steelheads center Corey Durocher, a 6-foot-3, 194-pound center with 10 points in 29 games this season.
The Ottawa, Ontario, native has split the season between Brampton (10 games) and Idaho (19 games), posting four goals and six assists with a plus-3 rating along the way.
Durocher was the Florida Panthers’ sixth-round pick in the 2010 NHL Draft and is in his first full professional season. He got his first taste of ECHL hockey last year, playing in eight games with the Brampton Beast, three of which were in the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
HOME AGAIN: This eight-game home stand features four games against Central Division opponents Indy (21-22-2-1) and Fort Wayne (32-13-2-1), three against Mountain Division squads Allen (25-20-4-2) and Rapid City (18-28-2-0) and one against Eastern Conference leader Florida (34-9-1-4), which has a league-best 73 points.
After posting their best month of the season in January with a 7-3-0-0 record, the Mavericks have yet to find the win column in February, starting with an 0-5-0-0 record.