ESTERO, Fla. – A third-period comeback was too little, too late for the Kansas City Mavericks Friday.
Trailing the host Florida Everblades 4-1 entering the final period, the Mavericks scored twice to pull within 4-3 with just over 6 minutes left. But they failed to get the equalizer and the Everblades added a late empty-net goal to seal it at Hertz Arena.
Bryan Lemos struck just 58 seconds in the third period on an assist from Zach Osburn to cut the Mavericks’ deficit to 4-2.
Cliff Watson made it a one-goal game with 6:07 left to play on assists from Tad Kozun and Darian Dziurzynski.
Justin Auger, though, sealed the win for Florida with an empty-netter with 12 seconds left.
Two quick goals early in the first period proved to be the difference. Levko Koper beat Mavericks goalie Nick Schneider at the 1:22 mark. Joe Pendenza made it 2-0 just 10 seconds later.
The Everblades (15-7-1-2, 33 points), the second-place team in the ECHL’s South Division took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission despite being outshot by the Mavericks 11-6 on goal.
Zach Magwood made it 3-0 Florida when he scored at the 11:54 mark of the second period.
Rocco Carzo began the Mavericks’ comeback with a goal at the 14:32 mark of the second on assists from Dziurzynski and Neal Goff. His goal broke a scoreless streak of 97 minutes, 52 seconds across three games.
Magwood struck again, though, scoring what proved to be the game-winner with 30 seconds left in the second period for a 4-1 lead.
The Mavericks fell to 10-12-2-0 overall (22 points) and into sixth place in the Mountain Division despite allowing just 17 shots on goal, compared to 29 for them. Each team went scoreless on three power plays each.
The Mavericks face the Everblades again at 6:05 p.m. (CST) Saturday at Hertz Arena before traveling to Orlando, Fla., for a Wednesday night game against the Solar Bears.
The Mavericks return home for a Dec. 20-21 games against the Utah Grizzlies and Tulsa Oilers.