Kansas City Mavericks forward Rocco Carzo was in a quandary.
It seems that every time his fiancee, Grain Valley High School cheer coach Megan Kaldenberg is on the sidelines with her Eagles cheer team on at a Friday night football game, the Mavericks captain scores two goals.
“I’m thinking about asking her to not come to any more games,” Carzo joked after scoring two goals in the Mavericks convincing 5-1 ECHL Mountain Division victory over the Utah Grizzlies Friday night at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena.
“Nah, I’m kidding. She loves coming to games and I love it when she’s here supporting me and our team. My dad (Rocco III) was here tonight, and I always seem to have a big game when he gets here from Philly, so we’ll work something out with Megan.
“I know one thing, it was great to see our team play as close to 60 minutes of great hockey as we have played all season. We got that quick lead, and then put the pedal to the metal, not letting Utah get back into the game.
“That’s something we need to do the remainder of the season – play 60 minutes of hockey and when we get the lead, keep it!”
Jack Walker and Carzo both had two goals and an assist on the night and Mavs defenseman Zach Osburn posted three assists. Mavs goaltender Nick Schneider was steady in net, stopping 22 of 23 shots by the Grizzlies.
“The guys played well,” coach John-Scott Dickson said after his team improved to 4-6-0-0. “It would be easy to overlook Schneider tonight because we scored five goals, but Nick was great in the net. He made all the stops he should have made and a couple that were great.”
Kansas City took the lead 31 seconds into the game when Walker collected a loose puck in the crease and stuffed it home. Carzo and Michael Parks assisted on the goal.
“We’re getting real comfortable,” Carzo said, referring to playing on the same line as Walker and Parks.
Kansas City continued to apply the first period pressure when Carzo plugged home another rebound goal at 13:44. Defensemen Justin Woods and Osburn picked up the assists on the goal. The Mavericks led 2-0 on the scoreboard and 12-8 in shots after one period.
Kansas City poured on the offense in the second period, scoring three goals in the 20-minute frame. Walker netted his second goal of the game at the 2:46 mark. Woods and Osburn picked up their second assists of the game.
Forward Mitch Hults, assigned to the Mavericks from the American Hockey League’s Stockton Heat earlier in the day, got in on the action at the 5:53 mark, taking a cross-ice feed from Walker and stuffing it home to make it 4-0.
Utah scored its lone goal at the 7:08 mark of the period on a score from forward Ty Lewis.
Carzo scored the final goal, his second of the night, on assists from defensemen Cliff Watson and Osburn.
The Mavericks went six-for-six on the penalty kill and have now killed off 20 of the last 21 power play opportunities by opponents.
MAVS MOVES: The Mavericks released forward Corey Durocher and defenseman John Furgele Friday.
In 66 games over three seasons with Kansas City, Durocher tallied 52 points on 24 goals and 28 assists. He was also the Mavericks’ leading goal scorer in the 2019 Kelly Cup Playoffs, scoring five goals in seven games.
Furgele appeared in seven games for Kansas City, scoring a goal and notching two assists for three points and accumulated a plus-2 rating.
The Mavericks were forced to make the moves after receiving Hults and defenseman Corey Schueneman earlier in the day from the Stockton Heat.
“That’s just one of the toughest parts of the game and of my job,” Dickson said, “to call two players into your office who have done everything we have asked and tell them that we simply don’t have room on the roster for them.
“We got sent a couple of players (from AHL affiliate Stockton) and it’s a salary cap thing. We wish both of them luck and hope they can catch on with another team.”
When asked if their release might have sparked the Mavericks to their win Friday, Dickson said, “You never know. No one can be complacent on our team. There will likely be more moves, but we’re pretty much set for now.”