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. As the regular season winds down, the chase for a playoff spot is heating up!
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 were 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 home stand at Cable Dahmer Arena.
However, they immediately followed with a tough stretch of picking up three points out of a possible ten. In the five weeks since they were inching towards a playoff berth, the Mavs have been sub-.500 on the year and in their game-to-game record. The team has six out of a possible twelve points picked up in their last six, and it’s just not good enough to close the gap for the fourth spot in the ECHL’s Mountain Division.
The Kelly Cup Playoffs qualify by points percentage to offset COVID postponements and cancellations, and although the games in hand are starting to round out the prospects are too bleak. With only three games remaining in Kansas City’s regular season, it’s just a matter of playing out the string.
GAME BY GAME:
MAR 20th- KC Mavericks 5 @ Rapid City Rush 4 -WIN
MAR 30th- KC Mavericks 2 @ Allen Americans 3 -LOSS (OT)
APR 1st- KC Mavericks 1 vs Allen Americans 3 -LOSS
APR 2nd- KC Mavericks 2 vs Wichita Thunder 3 -LOSS (SHOOTOUT)
APR 6th- KC Mavericks 4 @ Allen Americans 7 -LOSS
APR 8th- KC Mavericks 3 @ Allen Americans 2 -WIN (OT)
Veteran forward Darik Angeli, who hit both 400 ECHL games played and 100 ECHL goals scored this year, was traded to the Florida Everblades on March 31st. Defenseman Dalton Gally and future considerations were coming back to Missouri. Angeli was leading the team in scoring at the time of the deal, and was consistently in the top five or ten in the league-wide scoring race. Prior to Angeli, Nick Pastujov was previously leading the team scoring race but was called up to the AHL Rochester Americans on February 22nd. He’s since returned and will help with keeping the offense going. He currently sits in the team lead with 51 points.
Thank you Darik for all of your contributions over the past two seasons! The true definition of a Maverick!— Kansas City Mavericks (@kc_mavericks) March 31, 2022
Thank You 1️⃣8️⃣ pic.twitter.com/KkBtNNg7Vc
Penalty troubles have been an issue in this tough season, as the Mavericks lead the league with 1386 total penalty minutes. The next closest in the ECHL are the Norfolk Admirals, at a distant 1226. Mikael Robidoux has lead the way in that regard, with 242 total PIMs which is also the lead league. Here he is throwing some weight around and earning that sin bin time:
In the blue paint, Flames prospect Daniil Chechelev has continued to get the lion’s share of starts. His numbers have suffered though, right in line with the rest of the team. After posting a 40-save shutout against the Rapid City Rush on February 5th, and his first career professional SO, Chechy was named ECHL Goalie of the Week. It has been the standout point of his season so far.
A three game set with the Mountain Divisions’ last place team will run out the string on KC’s 2021-22 season. They’ll be on the road for the first and last, and home for the middle contest which will be Fan Appreciation Night at Cable Dahmer Arena.
Check back with M&G to see if the team can end things on a high note!