For two periods Saturday night at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena, the Kansas City Mavericks and Tulsa Oilers were hooked up in a game that was similar to what each team can expect once the 2019 ECHL playoffs begin in a few weeks.
Loren Ulett scored two goals to give the Mavericks a 2-1 lead going into the final period, but that is when the wheels came off for coach John-Scott Dickson’s team.
The division-leading Oilers (36-21-4-2) scored five unanswered goals in the third period to take down Kansas City and keep Dickson from earning his 100th career win at home. The Mavericks fell to 32-24-3-2 (69 points) but remain in the fourth and final playoff spot in the ECHL’s Mountain Division, nine points ahead of fifth-place Rapid City (26-30-5-3).
The Mavericks struck first on Ulett’s first goal 4:48 into the first period on an assist from Greg Betzold.
Tulsa responded quickly, as Charlie Sampair evened it 1-1 on an unassisted shorthanded goal at the 6:05 mark.
Ulett regained the lead for the Mavericks, scoring on an assists from Max Kalter and Jordan Ernst at the 8:09 mark. The assist was the first professional point for Kalter, who signed with the Mavericks prior to the game.
After a scoreless second period, the Oilers rattled off their five unanswered goals in the third, starting with Stephen Perfetto’s power play goal at the 13:06 mark to tie it.
Eric Drapluk scored the eventual game-winner just 20 seconds later. Dylan Bredo added an insurance goal a couple minutes later, Roman Ammirato had an empty net goal with 1:14 left in regulation and Sampair added his second goal with 30 seconds left.
“I want the guys to remember how they felt after this one, but you can’t dwell on a loss like this,” Dickson said. “You don’t want to have a game like this, especially at home in front of our fans, but it happened and you don’t dwell on it and you move on.
“We have a big road trip coming up and we have to be ready mentally and physically to make that run for the playoffs.”
The long road home The Mavericks hit the road for their longest road trip of the season, beginning tonight in North Charleston, South Carolina against the South Carolina Stingrays. Over the course of the next two weeks, the Mavericks play eight games against the Stingrays, Greenville Swamp Rabbits, Atlanta Gladiators, Cincinnati Cyclones, Toledo Walleye, Fort Wayne Komets and Indy Fuel before returning home for their regular season home finale against the Tulsa Oilers on April 2.
NEW BLOOD: The Mavericks signed two rookies last week – Kalter, a forward from the University of Connecticut, and defenseman Nikolas Koberstein from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.
LEAGUE LEADER: Mavericks defenseman Willie Raskob is tied with Toledo’s Matt Register for the assists lead among all ECHL defensemen with 34 this season. Overall, he ranks fourth in points by defensemen with 40 points, also tallying six goals.
CLINCHER COUNTDOWN: The Mavericks are closing in on their first playoff berth in two seasons, and seventh playoff appearance in the franchise’s 10-year history. The Mavericks need 76 points to clinch a playoff spot and eliminate Rapid City and Wichita from playoff contention. The Mavs currently have 69 points with 11 games remaining.
MILESTONE: Dickson is closing in on his 100th career coaching win. In three seasons with the Mavericks, his record is 99-85-11-8.