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Another slow start haunts Mavericks

By Bill Althaus
bill.althaus@examiner.net
Kansas City Mavericks forward Kamerin Nault (4) tries to get past Utah Grizzlies defenseman Garrett Johnston (3) in Friday's game at Cable Dahmer Arena. The Mavericks suffered a 4-2 loss.

If you are an astute Kansas City Mavericks fan, one statistic might have jumped out like a flashing red stoplight 1 minute, 2 seconds into a 4-2 loss to the Utah Grizzlies at Cable Dahmer Arena.

The Mavericks entered Friday’s game 6-0 when they scored first.

They are 1-7-2 when their opponent scores first.

Well, Utah’s Hunter Skinner scored just over a minute into the game, and by the time the first-period smoke had cleared, the Grizzlies held a 3-0 lead.

Utah’s Cedric Pare scored at 17:46 and Riley Woods scored his first of two goals at 19:02, leaving a disappointed coach Tad O’Had wondering what he has to do to prompt more efficient starts from his 7-8-2-1 team.

Kansas City Mavericks forward Brendan Robbins, left, takes a shot under pressure from Utah Grizzlies defenseman Garrett Johnston (3) Friday at Cable Dahmer Arena. The Mavericks lost 4-2.

“I am not happy with the start of the game or the first period,” O’Had said. “It is so important for us to get that first goal, to get off to a good start, and we certainly didn’t do that tonight.

“What is so disappointing is that seems to be a trend, especially when we play at home.”

The Mavericks have been home all week, and suffered a heartbreaking 4-3 overtime loss Tuesday night when Rapid City tied the game with just 16 seconds left in regulation.

“What happened tonight, and has happened too much this season, is all on me,” the coach added. “We’re too good of a team to have this keep happening. It will be addressed.”

The Mavericks made things interesting when ECHL scoring leader Brodie Reid scored his ninth goal of the season at 13:44 of the second period and Noah Delmas scored his first goal of the season at 4:14 of the third period to cut the deficit to 3-2.

Kansas City Mavericks players mob Noah Delmas after his goal early in the third period of Friday's game against the Utah Grizzlies. The goal pulled the Mavericks within 3-2 but Utah held on for a 4-2 win.

But the Mavericks, who entered the game fifth in the league in penalty kill efficiency (stopping 48 of 55 power plays) allowed two power play goals Friday.

“We didn’t score a power play goal and we gave up two power play goals,” O’Had said. “We can’t keep counting on Reid to score goals – the line of Brodie, Rob (Bordson) and Gio (Estephan) has been outstanding.

Kansas City Mavericks forward Darik Angeli, left, takes a shot under pressure from Utah Grizzlies defenseman Alex Lepkowski (4) Friday at Cable Dahmer Arena. The Mavericks lost 4-2.

“But we have other outstanding players, too. We have guys who can put the puck in the back of the net, and they need to start.”

The Mavericks return to action at 7:05 p.m. Saturday against the same 8-4-3-2 Grizzlies. 

Rookie Sean Romeo was in the net for the Mavericks. He stopped 28 of 32 shots on goal.

Willie Corrin, Estephan and Bryan Lemos had assists for the Mavericks, who fell despite outshooting the Grizzlies 40-32 on goal.

Kansas City Mavericks defenseman Connor Doherty , front, and Utah Grizzlies defenseman Miles Gendron, center, scrap in front of the Mavericks' bench in Friday's game at Cable Dahmer Arena. The Mavericks fell behind 3-0 and lost 4-2.