Mavericks hope win over Allen offers momentum for final stretch of season

Bill Althaus
The Examiner

The buy-in is real.

The team mindset is locked and loaded.

And Kansas City Mavericks coach Tad O'Had is ready to see what his ECHL team accomplishes in the final 11 games of the regular season.

The Mavericks defeated the Allen Americans 4-3 Saturday night at Cable Dahmer Arena to claim their second consecutive home win over their ECHL Western Conference rival. Now, it's Allen's turn to play host as the Mavericks meet the Americans at 7:05 p.m. Monday at the Allen Event Center.

"Another win is vital," O'Had said by phone after the team bus arrived in Allen Sunday night. "Look, it's human nature to look at the standings and try to figure out what's going to happen, but all we can do is take care of our opponent on a nightly basis, and we were able to do that in our past two home games."

With 11 games remaining, the 25-26-8-2 Mavericks are in seventh place in the conference with 60 points. To reach the playoffs, a team must finish play in one of the top four places. Utah (30-21-5-6), with a 6-3 win over Tulsa Sunday, is in fourth place with 71 points.

The Mavericks built a 3-0 first-period lead and held off the Americans late Saturday.

Willie Corrin scored just 53 seconds into the first period Saturday night and Adam Brady and C.J. Eick followed with goals just 1:10 apart to give the Mavericks and goalie Andrew Shortridge a 3-0 lead in front of an enthusiastic crowd of 2,234.

But the game was far from over.

Allen's Allen Corey Mackin and Scott Conway scored early in the second, before Kansas City's Matt Petgrave scored at 14:21 to make it 4-2 going into the final period.

Allen's Spencer Asuchak scored at 5:43 and Shortridge and the Mavericks defense rose to the occasion to claim the victory. Allen had just nine shots on goal in the final period and 19 for the game.

"I just keep seeing so many good things from our team," O'Had said. "We're suffocating team's like Allen with our defense and taking away their transition game.

"We're getting great five-on-five play and special teams play, and that's how you put together winning streaks. And that's what we have to do now, put together a streak at the end of the season and let's see what happens."

The evening had a nostalgic vibe as the Mavericks saluted the Kansas City Blades in a special tribute night. The Mavericks paid homage to the Blades by wearing specialty jerseys and added a meet and greet with former Blades players.

Mavericks ease restrictions

The Kansas City Mavericks announced Friday that they will be easing mask and social distancing restrictions and increasing crowd capacity for the final seven home games of the season at Cable Dahmer Arena.

Starting with Saturday’s game, masks are not required, though the team encourages those who have not been vaccinated to continue wearing th em. Also, social distancing on the concourse will not be enforced.

The team also announced it will have increased crowd capacity starting with Thursday’s game against the Tulsa Oilers at Cable Dahmer Arena. Sections will be opened up for non-socially distant seating, including for groups of 10 or more.

Locker room and office access will remain restricted, as the team finishes the season under the ECHL’s COVID-19 guidelines.