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Mavericks bounce back with strong start

By Bill Althaus

Following one of the most disappointing performances of the season, the Kansas City Mavericks turned up the intensity and the offense Sunday.

It worked early as the Mavericks used a three-goal first period en route to a 4-2 victory over the Allen Americans.

Following a 3-0 Saturday night loss to Allen, Mavericks coach Tad O’Had said he was going to shake things up, and he did.

He placed Rob Bordson on a line with Bryan Lemos and Darik Angeli, and the captain responded with the opening goal of the game and an assist.

Angeli added a goal and ECHL scoring leader Brodie Reid, who was formerly on the line with Bordson, scored a goal and added an assist.

Plus, new goalie Angus Redmond, who arrived from Bakersfield, California, at midnight Friday, was in the net and stopped 18 of 20 shots to pick up the win.

“In less than 24 hours after that shutout loss Friday, we really played a solid game today,” Bordson said. “Some things were addressed after the loss last night and we knew we were capable of playing better hockey.

“Taking that 3-0 lead in the first period was huge.”

What was even bigger was the simple fact that the Mavericks had just 16 shots on goal in the Friday loss. At 8:01 of the first period, they had 16 shots on goal in the first period and Zach Osburn had a goal, off an assist from Bordson.

“We took the puck to the net, we were aggressive and we played the type of hockey we’re capable of playing, and you saw the end results,” O’Had said. “We’re down in the standings and can’t get too high or too low – we have to keep playing hard and beat the teams that are ahead of us, and Allen is one of those teams.”

Redmond is the seventh goalie to dress for the Mavericks (8-10-2-1) this season, already a team record.

“You have to understand that this is hockey in the age of COVID,” O’Had said. “It’s a different era. We have had two goalies called up to the AHL and we have two goalies on injured reserve. Redmond came in tonight and did an outstanding job.”

Redmond, who was with the American Hockey League’s Bakersfield Condors, was thrilled that he was able to contribute to the win.

“It was a crazy last 24 hours, flying here from Bakersfield, and getting right in a game, which was great,” said Redmond, who was 16-2 with a .907 save percentage and 2.55 goals against average with the ECHL’s Newfoundland Growlers last season. “I hadn’t played in a while and I was really excited to get back out on the ice and the guys did a great job defensively and offensively.”

Allen (15-6-1-0) cut the Mavericks’ lead to 3-1 on Corey Mackin’s goal at 2:13 of the second period, but Reid’s goal at 7:10 made it 4-1.

Friday’s 3-0 loss was the fourth in a row at home for the Mavericks.

“I won’t make excuses,” O’Had said Friday after the lengthy postgame session with his team this season. “We were out-competed tonight, especially in the third period. Changes will be coming – we have to do something to generate some offense. Tonight was not acceptable.”

What turned out to be the game-winning goal was scored by Allen’s Les Lancaster when he fired the puck past Sean Romeo at 11:19 of the first period.

The Americans scored a goal in each period. Nolan Kneen scored with just 15 seconds left in the second period and Lancaster scored on a penalty shot after he was tripped up on a breakaway attempt at 10:50 of the third period.

Romeo stopped 25 of 28 shots while Allen’s Jake Paterson stopped all 16 shots on goal by the Mavericks.

“We have had a carousel of goalies this season (with Andrew Shortridge and Matt Greenfield on injured reserve and Sean Bonar on loan to an AHL team), but that is no excuse,” O’Had said. “We have to generate some offense.

“Romeo played well enough to win that game tonight. We have four lines, and only one of them is getting it done. … We need our other lines to produce. We’re looking at changes, we have to do something.”

The Mavericks wrapped up a three-game set with Allen with a Monday afternoon Presidents Day game.