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. By mid-February 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. The team trudged at-or-below that .500 mark the rest of the way and were never able to generate momentum away from the Mountain Division basement.
Kansas City has now missed the playoffs for their third straight season. In fact, they’ve only qualified for the Kelly Cup Playoffs twice since the 2015-16 season. Their 71 points leaves them finishing 22nd overall out of the 27 member clubs in the ECHL.
One of the big headlines of the year was an acquisition on the blue line. The deal was made official on February 16th, with the Mavs sending Bryan Lemos and future considerations to the Indy Fuel for defenseman Mike Lee. The scoring minded blueliner had 32 points in 41 games at the time of the deal, and solidified the team’s want to be offensive from the back end. The team since already had 2022 ECHL All-Star Game MVP Marcus Crawford who was clipping along at a 0.81 points per game pace at the time as a star in his own right. They’ve finished with 52 (Crawford) and 48 (Lee) points on the season, which puts them fifth and sixth overall in ECHL defenseman scoring of the end of the year. Here’s a dramatic OT winner for Lee from just two weeks after the trade:
Prospect In The Blue Paint
Things were rough in the blue paint just as much as anywhere else, but there was a highlight from a Flames perspective. After posting a 40-save shutout against the Rapid City Rush on February 5th, and his first career professional SO, Calgary Flames netminding prospect Daniil Chechelev was named ECHL Goalie of the Week. This was in the first week of February and unfortunately Chechy never recovered his form.
The Rough Stuff
Penalty troubles had been an issue in this tough season, as the Mavericks lead the league with 1482 total penalty minutes. The next closest in the ECHL were a healthy distance away from that. The Fort Wayne Komets clocked in for second at 1271 followed by the Norfolk Admirals at 1267. Mikael Robidoux has lead the way in that regard for KC, with 258 total PIMs which is also the lead league for season’s end. Here he is throwing some weight around and earning that sin bin time:
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 chipped in, keeping the offense going. Pastujov finished the regular season in the team lead with 53 points from 23 goals and 30 assists.
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
We here at Matchsticks & Gasoline thank you for following along this year, as the Mavericks will look ahead to another season for success.
Check back with us next fall as the Mavs try to get back in the Kelly Cup Playoffs!