Time to check in with the Flames’ ECHL affiliate in Kansas City! After missing the Kelly Cup playoffs in last year’s crazy shortened and re-aligned season, they’re now back at it to try again.
The Mavericks kicked off the early stretch of the year by going .500 through their opening six match ups, and they hadn’t managed to get ahead of the curve since. The New Year brought new hope, but KC’s January record only brought seven wins. With four wins and three losses including a loser point in the first couple weeks of February, things look much the same. At Valentine’s Day, KC was creeping towards a playoff spot sitting four points back of the fourth and final spot and was about to kick off an eight game homestand at Cable Dahmer Arena. However, “five hundred” has become the dominant number yet again. Out of a possible twenty four points, the Mavs picked up half with twelve points in their last twelve games. This leaves them at an even .500 on the season so far, and now dead last in the Mountain Division by the new points percentage Kelly Cup Playoffs format. While KC sits fourth by points, every other team has games in hand leaving them in the basement. The good news is that misery loves company, and Wichita is tied for that last place spot right alongside them. Penalty trouble is a contributing factor this year, as Kansas City leads the league with a whopping 1247 PIMs on the season. That’s a full 220 penalty minutes more than the next worst offenders, the Norfolk Admirals.
GAME BY GAME:
FEB 15th- KC Mavericks 2 vs Allen Americans 7 -LOSS
FEB 16th- KC Mavericks 4 vs Allen Americans 5 -LOSS
FEB 18th- KC Mavericks 1 vs Idaho Steelheads 2 -LOSS (SO)
FEB 21st- KC Mavericks 5 vs Idaho Steelheads 1 -WIN
FEB 25th- KC Mavericks 2 vs Utah Grizzlies 4 -LOSS
FEB 26th- KC Mavericks 5 vs Utah Grizzlies 4 -WIN
FEB 27th- KC Mavericks 2 vs Utah Grizzlies 0 -WIN
MAR 1st- KC Mavericks 2 vs Wichita Thunder 1 -WIN (OT)
MAR 4th- KC Mavericks 2 @ Wichita Thunder 1 -WIN
MAR 5th- KC Mavericks 1 vs Iowa Heartlanders 6 -LOSS
MAR 6th- KC Mavericks 3 vs Wichita Thunder 5 -LOSS
MAR 9th- KC Mavericks 4 @ Utah Grizzlies 5 -LOSS (OT)
In roster news, KC made a big trade just after Valentine’s Day. The deal was made official on February 16th, sending Bryan Lemos and future considerations to the Indy Fuel for defenseman Mike Lee. The offensively minded blueliner had 32 points in 41 games at the time of the deal, and solidifies the team’s want to be offensive from the back end, since they already have 2022 ECHL All-Star Game MVP Marcus Crawford who is clipping along at a 0.82 points per game pace as a defenseman. They’re both up to 41 points on the season now, sitting in a tie for third in ECHL defender scoring league-wide alongside Josh Maniscalco of the Wheeling Nailers. Take a look below for taste of the new guy’s firepower with his overtime winner against the Thunder:
MIKE LEE WINS IT pic.twitter.com/gGTy4vW4hK— Kansas City Mavericks (@kc_mavericks) March 2, 2022
Nick Pastujov was previously leading the team scoring race, but was called up to the AHL Rochester Americans on February 22nd. Darik Angeli, who hit both 400 ECHL games played and 100 ECHL goals scored this year, now holds that spot. He’s up to 58 points on the campaign with 23 goals and 35 assists which puts him fourth overall in the league scoring race. The next highest scoring forward for KC is Ben Johnson with 36 points, as defenders Mike Lee and Marcus Crawford are ahead of him with their previously mentioned 41.
Check out a nifty hand-eye goal from Angeli earlier this week:
Angeli ties it with a baseball swing! pic.twitter.com/xYXVVgcTBv— Kansas City Mavericks (@kc_mavericks) March 6, 2022
In the blue paint, Matt Greenfield posted a 39-save shutout against first place Utah on February 27th. It’s the second SO performance this year from a Mavericks goalie, after Calgary Flames prospect Daniil Chechelev dropped a 40-save shutout against the Rapid City Rush on February 5th.
We’ll have to wait and see how the games-in-hand round out, as we’re closing in on the final month of the ECHL regular season. Even with their record, only 0.019 percentage points separate the Mavericks from that last playoff spot as the other teams in the bottom half of the Mountain Division aren’t that much further ahead. In the next couple weeks, five of their next six matchups will be on the road. Most of them won’t be easy, as they’ll catch the division leading Grizzlies twice and the second place Rush three times, with one match hosting Tulsa in-between.
Check back with M&G to follow the Mavericks on their playoff push!