Darik Angeli a 'difference maker' for Mavericks

Bill Althaus
The Examiner
Kansas City Mavericks veteran forward Darik Angeli (18) drives to the net in a game against the Allen Americans earlier this season. Angeli was named ECHL Player of the Week after tallying nine points in four games last week.

When Tad O’Had was an associate head coach with the Florida Everblades, he made a late season trade in the 2019-20 season he thought would pay dividends for his team as it prepared for the playoffs.

“We made a deal for Darik Angeli,” O’Had said, “because I thought he could be a difference maker for our team in the playoffs. He can have that type of impact on a team.”

But things quickly changed. Because of COVID-19, the end of the ECHL season was canceled.

O’Had then signed on as the new head coach of the Kansas City Mavericks and again inked a deal for Angeli, who was named the Inglasco ECHL Player of the Week for Feb. 22-28. 

The 30-year-old forward turned in a big week, totaling one goal and eight assists for nine points and a plus-5 rating in four games last week.  

Angeli tallied three assists in a 4-3 overtime loss to Wichita on Tuesday, had a helper in a 3-1 loss to Tulsa on Friday, dished out two assists in a 3-1 win over the Oilers on Saturday and added a goal and two assists in a 5-2 victory at Tulsa on Sunday.

“I love it here,” Angeli said. “Rad is a players’ coach, and he’s a great guy to play for. We’re all disappointed we don’t have a better record, but I think these two back-to-back wins are an indication of what we can expect the rest of the season.

“I’m not using it as an excuse, but the injuries and call-ups – which are a part of this game and this league – have caused some setbacks. But we’re really playing well now and are looking forward to getting back out on the ice.”

The native of Lakewood, Colo., has 16 points (4 goals, 12 assists) in 18 games with the Mavericks this season and leads the team with a plus-4 rating.

“Darik is a difference maker and I was so happy when we were able to bring him here to the Mavericks,” O’Had said. “He’s not only a difference maker on the ice, he is a difference maker in the locker room – a real leader.

“I am so happy to see a hard working player like Darik get this honor.”

He is the second Mavericks player to be named player of the week. Forward Brodie Reid, who leads the ECHL in scoring with 31 points (14 goals, 17 assists), was the first.

Angeli has totaled 190 points (71 goals, 119 assists) in 314 career ECHL games while adding four points (1 goal, 3 assists) in 15 career games in the American Hockey League.