INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — The Kansas City Mavericks have shown the two sides of their game through the last six contests. However, going down the stretch, the hope is that this team is the one that can take the side that is competitive with the top teams in the league.
On the road trip to Utah, the Mavericks earned some confidence after struggling with road troubles for the better part of the season up to this point. They left Utah after their three-game series with five out of six points and the third shutout for Mason McDonald in just over a two week period. But it appears the team did not really ride the high of their recent road success. They came home and fell in two out of the three games they played they played the week after. The first game against Toledo was competitive but did not carry the punch they seemed to be dealing in other recent games. Joey Sides stayed on his hot streak after putting up a hat trick in the final game in Utah when the Mavericks won 5-3. He scored the first goal five minutes into the opening period.
A late goal put the first Toledo game away for the Walleye but in their Friday night rematch, the cards fell in a different order. In two different parts of the second period, the Mavs and Walleye went back and forth for three combined goals in just over a minute. The Mavs would tie it, the Walleye pull ahead, and the Mavs tie it up once again. On both occasions. Riley Sweeney, who netted two of those goals reflected on what the Mavericks did to stay compose through those strings of goals.
“I think the easiest thing to do is you gotta kinda stay even keel when goals are going back and forth like that. We had our composure and we were able to respond. I think that shows the level of commitment we had tonight. How we played as a group and stuck with it.”
Sweeney put up his first two goals of the season and joked about how he won a competition with his good friend Neal Goff.
“Honestly, I’m just happy I beat Goffer to it. We had a little race going with no goals and it was nice to just get one. Again, my second one was off his shot. It hit the post so I was happy he was able to assist on it but I’ll take the two tonight obviously.”
Another Mav that stood out and was imperative to securing that win was Nick Schneider. Head Coach John-Scott Dickson said,
“I thought he played really well. They had some good scoring chances in the second period, third period and he came through and was solid for us. I’m happy for him.”
Schneider hadn’t been between the pipes for the Mavericks since January 19. He has been back and forth being called up to fill in for Stockton when there are illnesses or injuries. When McDonald was on his hot stretch of games Schneider patiently waited for his turn. Schneider worked his way back and said,
“I felt better as the game went on. I felt a lot more comfortable. At the same time, it’s a team game. This is my first-year pro and I’m learning a ton this year. A lot of it’s mental but at the same time, it’s a process and you kind of have to roll with the punches.”
Unfortunately, Schneider got another opportunity against the Kalamazoo Wings the following net and did not end up with the same result. He would let in 5/27 shots in the Mavericks 5-2 loss. However, Schneider is aware this team is here to have his back through the wins and the losses.
“As a goalie that gives you a lot of confidence knowing that your team has your back and they’re willing to lay it all on the line like that.”
When the Mavericks are playing clean hockey, they are borderline unbeatable. The Mavs are quick paced and have production capabilities that will and have won them many games. When they are beaten, the Mavericks almost beat themselves. Lack of puck control, bad turnovers, not finishing checks and taking bad penalties come out to bite the team repeatedly. Kansas City has the potential to put up a great playoff run but need the consistency from their good games to roll over into their not so good ones. There is much to be excited about for the Mavericks. It’ll be interesting to see how they apply themselves through their next stretch of games.
Follow Paige Siewert on Twitter at @SinBinMavs.