A night that began with such great promise ended in disappointment for the Kansas City Mavericks Wednesday.
The Toledo Walleye overcame an early 2-0 deficit and scored the game-winning goal with just 2:11 left in the third period to claim a 4-3 victory at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena.
“The hockey gods were not with us tonight,” Mavericks coach John-Scott Dickson said through a wry smile after his team fell to 26-20-3-1 overall and 19-7-1-0 at home. “We played well enough to win this game. But you have to give credit to Toledo. Their goalie (Kaden Fulcher) made some big stops and the puck just didn’t bounce our way – and it bounced their way on a couple of their goals.
"But that’s hockey. We have them again (at 7:05 p.m.) Friday and we’ll try to get a win.”
Joey Sides, who had five points over the weekend, as the Mavericks went 2-0-1-0 against the Mountain Division-leading Utah Grizzlies, remained on fire offensively as he opened the scoring just five minutes into the first period.
Just over four minutes later, Jared VanWormer gave the Mavericks a 2-0 lead at 9:54 of the opening frame.
At one point in the opening 20 minutes, the Mavericks had a 15-3 advantage in shots on goal, but the Walleye, who are in second place in the ECHL’s Central Division, scored two goals in just four shots on goal.
Greg Wolfe showed great hand-to-eye coordination as he slapped a puck out of midair past goalie Mason McDonald – who has three shutouts this month – and Marcus Crawford followed with a scalding slap shot from long range to knot the score 2-2 after one period.
Toldeo’s Ben Danford scored the lone goal of the second period, but a slick pass from Kansas City’s C.J. Eick to Willie Raskob helped the Mavericks tie it 3-3 on a shorthanded goal.
It appeared the game would go into overtime until a slap shot from Brenden Kotyk struck Jordan Klimek near the net and ricocheted past McDonald for the game-winner.
McDonald ended the night with 26 saves on 30 shots. After outshooting the Walleye 16-6 in the first period, the Mavericks were outshot 25-15 over the final two periods.
“We all know we had a great chance to win this game,” said Sides, a veteran who is an associate captain this season, “but we’re not going out of here with our heads down.
“We’ve been playing some great hockey, and after the two wins in Utah this weekend we thought we were going to get another win at home tonight. It didn’t happen. Now, we have to go to work and get one Friday.”