Mavericks continue to struggle at home
Kansas City squanders a pair of leads in another loss to Grizzlies
After seeing Utah take a 3-0 first-period lead in a 4-2 Friday night loss, the Kansas City Mavericks took two leads against the Grizzlies Saturday night.
That still didn’t stop the Grizzlies from roaring back for a 3-2 win at Cable Dahmer Arena that left Mavericks coach Tad O’Had fuming.
“Unacceptable,” the coach said after his team fell to 7-9-2-1 overall and 2-5-2-0 at home. “We had a successful first period, then played well at times in the second. But we can’t allow teams to come into our building and score three goals in one period.”
And that’s what happened for the second game in a row as the Grizzlies’ Miles Gendron scored back-to-back goals and Pat Cannone scored the eventual game-winner with just 33 seconds left in the second period.
Brodie Reid, the leading scorer in the ECHL, gave the Mavericks a 1-0 lead at 18:19 of the first period. His linemate, Giorgio Estephan, gave Kansas City a short-lived 2-1 lead at 7:48 of the second period.
“We lead 1-0 and 2-1 and have to find a way to maintain those leads,” said O’Had, who refused to use injuries to goalies Andrew Shortridge and Matt Greenfield as an excuse for the losses to the Grizzlies.
“We will never make an excuse,” O’Had said. “Injuries are a part of the game and you have to find a way to fight through them.”
Trailing 3-2 late in the third period, Mavericks defenseman Zach Osburn was called for interference and misconduct at 17:43, which kept O’Had from adding a sixth attacker until Utah’s Riley Woods was called for interference with just 54 seconds left.
The Mavericks did get one last chance to tie the game but Darik Angeli’s slap shot hit the post with just 10 seconds remaining.
Rookie Sean Romeo lost for the second night in a row.
The Mavericks went zero-for-six on the power play and five-for-six on the penalty kill as Cannone’s game-winning goal came with the man advantage.
FRIDAY: 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.
“I am not happy with the start of the game or the first period,” O’Had said after Friday’s loss. “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 also suffered a heartbreaking 4-3 overtime loss last Tuesday 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 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.
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.
“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.”
Romeo 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.