NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. - It would be easy for Kansas City Mavericks coach John-Scott Dickson and his team to experience deja vu on their eight-game road trip.
For the third time in a row, during a four-game losing streak, the Mavericks saw two early leads slip away in a 5-3 loss to the South Carolina Stingrays Friday night at North Charleston Arena.
The Stingrays scored three third-period goals to overcome earlier 1-0 and 2-1 deficits as the Mavericks fell to 32-26-3-2.
The loss overshadowed a hat trick by Kansas City forward Corey Durocher, whose first two goals game the Mavericks 1-0 and 2-1 leads. His third goal came in the third period and cut the Mavericks deficit to 4-3 at 14:12.
But South Carolina’s Joey Leach scored an empty-net goal with 1:26 left in the game to decide the Mavericks’ fate.
The teams were tied 2-all going into the third period when Stephane Legault scored a power-play goal to give the Stingrays a 3-2 lead they never relinquished.
“We just have to keep pushing forward,” Dickson, who is still a win away from claiming his 100th as the team’s head coach over the past three seasons, said by phone following the loss. “It was tough giving up that power play goal at the start of the third period.
“But they made the most of their power-play chances (scoring twice) and we didn’t (0-for-4).”
Despite losing four games in a row, and being in the middle of the eight-game road trip, Dickson is not fearful of his team imploding.
“No one is pointing a finger at anyone else, the guys are playing hard,” he said. “We’re making some mistakes, and they’re hurting us because the other team is taking advantage of the mistakes. But we’re a strong team, just like we have been all season.”
Durocher broke an early scoreless tie at the 11:06 mark of the first period, burying a feed from the slot by C.J. Eick.
The goal was Durocher’s first since he scored two against the Cincinnati Cyclones on March 10.
The Stingrays tied the game on a goal from Jonathan Charbonneau just 3:42 later. The goal came on the power play as Mike Panowyk was serving a two-minute penalty for hooking.
Durocher netted his second goal of the game late in the first period with 1:14 left on the clock. Willie Raskob got his 35th assist of the year on the go-ahead goal.
The Stingrays tied the game on a goal from Legault at 8:32 of the second period. The Stingrays piled up 18 shots on goal, and outshot Kansas City 32-20 through the first two periods.
South Carolina took a 3-2 lead 26 seconds into the third period on Charbonneau’s second goal of the game and the Stingrays’ second power-play goal.
Durocher scored his third goal of the game with 5:48 left in regulation. Rocco Carzo assisted on the goal. The Mavericks got a late power play opportunity on a Miles Liberati delay of game penalty.
With goaltender Nick Schneider pulled, the Stingrays got an empty-net shorthanded goal from Leach. Schneider faced 45 shots on goal in taking the loss.