Never had the loss of forwards Mark Cooper, Jared VanWormer and Mike McMurtry and defenseman Cliff Watson been more evident than Saturday’s 5-2 loss to the Kalamazoo Wings at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena.
The Mavericks couldn’t get it going offensively or defensively, but coach John-Scott Dickson said the team has plenty of games to rebound, starting Wednesday night in the first of three home games against the Idaho Steelheads.
“I will never stand in the way of one of our guys from going up to the AHL (American Hockey League),” Dickson said. “I know some coaches who might do that, but why would a player want to come here if they didn’t think they had the chance to make it to the next level?
“Sure, we’d like to have Coop, Worms, Mac and Wattie, but they’re showing what they can do at the next level and one step closer to their dream of making it to the NHL.
“This was a tough loss, but we’re going to be OK.”
Mavericks defenseman Willie Raskob was the lone bright spot as he finished with a goal and an assist.
The Wings jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a goal from Brandon Anselmi at the 5:19 mark of the first period.
Chris Collins doubled the Kalamazoo lead with 2:48 left in the period, making it 2-0 going into the second period.
Kyle Bushee put the Wings up 3-0 with a power play goal 1:32 into the second period.
Raskob broke the shutout at 16:30 of the period on assists from Joey Sides and David Dziurzynski.
Raskob found his way onto the scoresheet again, assisting on a goal by Greg Betzold just 1:06 later that cut the deficit to 3-2 heading into the third period.
The Wings pulled away early in the third period, getting two goals from Tanner Sorenson in the first six minutes of the period.
“The beauty of this game and this league is that there is always another game, and for us, there are three home games this week,” Mavericks captain Rocco Carzo said. “We can’t think about the players who aren’t here, but make sure all the guys who are here are working hard.”
Nick Schneider was in the net for the Mavericks and took the loss.
STANLEY CUP: The Stanley Cup will be on display before Wednesday’s game against Idaho at SEC Arena. Fans can get their photo taken with one of the most iconic sports trophies from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.