WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – John-Scott Dickson and his Kansas City Mavericks were flying high long before they boarded their plane for the flight back to Kansas City Monday.
Dickson’s Mavericks earned five points over the weekend after claiming a 3-0 win Saturday night at the Maverik Center and following that up with a dominating 5-2 victory Monday afternoon as Joey Sides earned his first hat trick as a Maverick.
“A great weekend in Utah,” Mavericks captain and forward Rocco Carzo, who had two assists along with forward David Dziurzynski and defenseman Cliff Watson, said by phone. “We would have liked to have picked up six points, but we’ll take five on the road. We’d really been playing bad on the road and these five points are a big boost in the right direction.”
And that direction? Heading toward the playoffs.
The Mavericks improved to 26-19-3-1 and hold a six-point lead over Rapid City (56-50) for the fourth and final playoff spot in the ECHL’s Mountain Division – and they have five games in hand on the Rush.
“A really good series in Utah,” said Dickson, whose team followed a tough 4-3 overtime loss Friday with two of the its most dominating performances of the season. “I’m really proud of how the guys didn’t dwell on the loss Friday and came and played two great games Saturday night and today.
“It’s going to be a late night for the team, getting back about 11:40 (Monday) and then turning around and playing (Toledo) at home Wednesday. We’ll give them the day off Tuesday so they will be ready for a great game Wednesday.”
Carzo said he can’t wait for Wednesday’s home matchup.
“When you have a series like this, getting five points, you want to get back out on the ice immediately,” Carzo said. “We’re ready to go the minute we get off the plane. We’ll definitely be ready Wednesday.”
Sides opened up the scoring Monday on a power play, netting the first goal at the 11:13 mark of the first period. David Dziurzynski and Carzo were credited with assists.
Darian Dziurzynski doubled the Mavericks lead to 2-0 with 2:52 left in the opening period. Watson was given the lone assist on the goal. The Mavericks outshot the Grizzlies 13-10 in the period.
Caleb Herbert cut the Mavericks’ lead in half at the 7:06 mark the second period. The goal broke an 87-minute shutout streak by Mavericks goaltender Mason McDonald.
Greg Betzold, on an assist from Jared VanWormer, put the Mavs back in front by two with a goal in his third straight game at the 13:10 mark of the second.
Nolan De Jong then cut the Mavericks lead to 3-2 with a goal on a 5-on-3 power play at the 18:12 mark of the second.
“That was tough, but we were able to come back and dominate the third period,” Dickson said of giving up the 5-on-3 goal.
The Mavericks took command in the third period, as Sides netted his second and third goals of the game for his first hat trick of the season. David Dziurzynski and Cliff Watson got their second assists of the game on Sides’ second goal at the 7:51 mark. Sides’ final goal at the 14:57 mark was unassisted.
McDonald finished with 33 saves on 35 shots. Kansas City scored two power play goals in the game, finishing 2-for-6 with a man advantage.
The Mavericks gained four points on the Grizzlies (31-15-4-1, 67 points) in the Mountain Division playoff race and now sit 11 points back of first place in the division with two games in hand over Utah.
McDonald stopped all 18 shots he faced in Saturday’s shutout win.
Sides, who now has ??? goals on the season, opened the scoring at the 15:34 mark of the first period on an assist from Carzo.
The Mavericks took control with a pair of goals just 1:19 apart in the second period. Betzold scored on an assist from VanWormer at the 6:41 mark. Jordan Klimek made it 3-0 at the 8-minute mark on assists by Mike Panowyk and C.J. Eick.