When we last checked in with the ECHL’s Kansas City Mavericks, they had won four of their last six games to gain some ground in the Mountain Division playoffs as the regular season winds down. Since that time, Kansas City managed to grab four wins in a seven game stretch, which included an extra point for a shootout loss to the Cincinnati Cyclones. Sitting in fourth place with a nine point lead on the Rapid City Rush, they are currently holding down a playoff spot. KC also holds a game in hand on the Utah Grizzlies as they’re three points back on moving up a seed for the playoff bracket. Under the ECHL Kelly Cup rules. the top four teams in each division will qualify for a playoff berth.
GAME BY GAME:
MAR 1st- Idaho Steelheads 4 @ KC Mavericks 1 -LOSS
MAR 2nd- Idaho Steelheads 1 @ KC Mavericks 2 -WIN
MAR 3rd- KC Mavericks1 @ Tulsa Oilers 3 -LOSS
MAR 6th- KC Mavericks 6 @ Allen Americans 0 -WIN
MAR 8th- KC Mavericks 9 @ Allen Americans 3 -WIN
MAR 10th- Cincinnati Cyclones 4 @ KC Mavericks 3 -LOSS (SO)
MAR 15th- Wichita Thunder 2 @ KC Mavericks 3 -WIN
A returning Jared Vanwormer finds himself back in the race for the team points lead, although he sits six points back of Rocco Carzo who has picked up the lead since Varwormer and Mark Cooper have spent time out on loan this year. Carzo notched five assists in his last seven games, while leading goal-getter Darian Dziurski added another four to his total to sit at 25 on the season.
In the blue paint, Flames prospect netminder Mason McDonald grabbed a 30 save shutout victory against the division rival Allen Americans on the 6th. He now has four shutout performances this year, and has managed to lower his GAA 2.32. With 29 starts on the campaign, he has carried the netminding load for the Mavericks, fellow Flames prospect Nick Schneider is back from his assignment to the Stockton Heat, and Schneider’s now looking at 6 wins in 16 ECHL games played, while struggling numbers-wise with a GAA creeping towards four at 3.74 and a save percentage at .878
KC will be tested down the stretch to end the regular season, as they head on the road for ten of their next eleven games, including a stretch of eight straight away from home. They won’t find much help to climb the standings in that run either, as only two of those games are against divisional opponents in the Rapid City Rush. Although the rush are a Mountain Division rival, they’re nine points back of the Mavs but it could still affect the race as KC holds down the division’s last Kelly Cup playoffs spot and Rapid City is hoping to catch them. While the Mavs control their own destiny, they’ll need some outside help if the want to climb out of the division’s lowest play off seed. They’re 3 points back of Utah, five points back of 2nd place Idaho, and six points behind first place Tulsa, upward mobility isn’t completely out of the question. Check back with Matchsticks & Gasoline in two weeks as the Kelly Cup playoffs approach!