Second-period collapse dooms Mavericks in loss to Wichita
A regulation ECHL hockey game is 60 minutes.
But over a head-shaking span of four minutes in the second period, the Wichita Thunder found a way to get past a Kansas City Mavericks team that had played flawless defense in the first period.
"It was 0-0 after one period and our guys were doing all the right things – shutting down their transition lanes and playing Grade A defense," Mavericks coach Tad O'Had said after the Thunder caught fire offensively and earned a 7-5 victory.
"We played 20 minutes of great defensive hockey, then we got away from that and you saw what happened."
At 11:21 of the second period, with the score tied 2-2, the Mavericks went on a 5-on-3 power play. Seconds into the two-man advantage, it appeared Jared VanWormer scored the go-ahead goal, but after a lengthy post-goal discussion and a video review, the goal was waved off.
The Mavericks did not score on the power play and the Thunder came out and scored two quick goals – ECHL scoring leader Anthony Beauregard at 14:31 and Garrett Schmitz at 15:05 to set the tone for the remainder of the game.
"The officials said the replay showed Worm’s arm comes across the goal line and they declared it not a goal, "O'Had said. "I beg to differ. But, at the end of the day, you should win a game where you score five goals."
Kansas City's Lane Scheidl scored a late goal in the second to make it 4-3 going into the final period.
Mavericks forward Nick Pastujov then scored at 3:24 of the third to knot it at 4-all.
Thirteen seconds later, Brayden Watts scored on a breakaway to give Wichita yet another lead at 5-4, but Kansas City's Greg Moro, who had a three-point night with two assists, scored at 10:06 to tie it again.
"We worked hard all night and came back from a two-goal deficit and those one-goal deficits, but we made way too many mistakes defensively after playing that great first period," O'Had said.
At 10:38 of the third period – just 14 seconds after Moro's goal – Stefan Fournier scored his second goal of the night on a breakaway.
"Just unacceptable," O'Had said. "There's not a lot of season left and we need to start winning some games, put a winning streak together."
Wichita's final goal was an empty-netter by Jay Dickman as O'Had pulled goalie Matt Ginn with 1:41 left.
Giorgio Estephan, who recently rejoined the Mavericks after playing for Stockton in the American Hockey League, had a goal and an assist. He says it is not time to push the panic button.
"Three mistakes led to three goals for Wichita," Estephan said. "We will clean those up and be ready when we play them again Saturday (at 7:05 p.m. at Cable Dahmer Arena). There are a lot of new faces, new bodies on this team and it will take a while to learn how to play together, but it has to come quickly because the season is going by fast."
Scheidl, Angeli and Bryan Lemos each had two points for the Mavericks, who are in seventh place in the Western Conference with a 23-24-8-2 record and 56 points. Utah is in fourth place with 61 points. The four top teams from each conference advance to the playoffs.
Mavs sign defenseman
The Mavericks announced earlier Thursday that they had signed defenseman Matt Petgrave, who played in the loss to Wichita and had two shots and two penalty minutes.
Petgrave, a 6-foot-1, 201-pounder from Toronto, Ontario joins the Mavericks after starting the season with the Florida Everblades. In 44 games for the Everblades, Petgrave had 12 points on one goal and 11 assists.
“We are very pleased to be adding Matt Petgrave,” O’Had said. “Matt is a very skilled puck moving defenseman that has ample AHL and ECHL experience. Matt makes us better, he has been a great addition to a strong Florida lineup and logged major minutes for them all season.”
In his ECHL career, Petgrave has played in 184 games, scoring 25 goals and compiling 85 assists for 110 points and 257 penalty minutes.
“We are very pleased to be adding him and believe he will help us round out our D-core as we make a strong playoff push,” O’Had continued. “We have one mission and that is to make ourselves better every day and Matt helps us do that."