Mavericks lose ground in chase for ECHL playoff spot

Bill Althaus
The Examiner

RAPID CITY, S.D. – The Kansas City Mavericks are so close to battling their way back to an ECHL Western Conference postseason berth, and coach Tad O'Had tells his players that every remaining game is like it’s a playoff itself.

And Friday night in Rapid City his Mavericks lost ground with a 3-2 setback to the host Rush.

"We talk about having a playoff mentality the rest of the way" O'Had said by phone, “and we didn't get the job done tonight. I liked a lot of things we did, but we have to find a way to get wins against the teams that are in front of us in the playoffs. And from here on out, every game we play is like a playoff game or series."

Rapid City sandwiched two first-period goals around a goal by the Mavericks' Phil Marinaccio at 10:58.

The Rush took that 2-1 lead into the third period when captain Rob Bordson scored a power play goal at 4:15 to tie it.

But the Rush's Peter Quenneville scored what proved to be the game winner at 7:55 as the Mavericks managed just three shots on goal in the final period.

"Bordson scored a great power play goal," O’Had said. "And we need guys to get the puck to the net. We're looking for the perfect shot, and right now we need to score – we need to score those greasy goals that are going to get us back into the playoff hunt."

The Rush (28-22-3-1) have 60 points and have moved past the Utah Grizzlies into fourth place. Kansas City (22-23-7-2) is in seventh place with 53 points.

One positive was the return of Matt Ginn in goal. Matt Greenfield had started the last 12 games as Ginn dealt with some health issues.

"I tell you what," O'Had said, "Ginn played well enough to win tonight and it is great to have two healthy goalies. They are two of the best goalies in this league and we are going to need two healthy guys the rest of the way."

Ginn stopped 33 of 36 shots on goal.

Marinaccio and Bordson also recorded assists for two-point nights.

Forward C.J. Eick played in his 300th ECHL game. Eick is currently fifth on the Mavericks’ all-time games played list with 192.

Mavs get defensemen

The Mavericks announced earlier Friday that they have received defensemen Greg Moro and Koletrane Wilson from the Stockton Heat of the American Hockey League.

Moro, a 6-foot-4, 207-pound, defenseman from Edmonton, Alberta, joins the Mavericks after appearing in six games for the Heat this season, registering two points on one goal and one assist.

Moro played four seasons with Clarkson University, where he was named an assistant captain his senior season.

Wilson, a 6-3, 220-pound defenseman who is also from Edmonton, joins the Mavericks after appearing in five games for the Heat, where he compiled 15 penalty minutes.

Wilson played four seasons with the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the Western Hockey League, where he was named an assistant captain during the 2019-20 season.