INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – So, you fall 5-1 in a pretty bad team showing amid a four-game losing streak. How do you follow it up? With a big win to turn it around. That is exactly what the Kansas City Mavericks did on Saturday night against the Utah Grizzlies.
The loss on Friday struck the team with great despair. Only one goal scored in a game where the effort was not being put forth and another frustrating result to add on to the low part of the season they have been in as of lately. Mavericks head coach John-Scott Dickson was relieved at the result and happy to see his team bounce back.
“It’s pretty obvious that the effort level was night and day from last night to tonight,” Dickson said. “Speed was there and that’s the whole thing. We’ve got to move our feet. When we move our feet, we can skate with any team.”
Friday night went unlike the last few losses the Mavericks suffered. Utah showed up on Friday and just bulldozed the Mavericks. Darian Dziurzynski commented on the mood shift that needed to happen for Saturday’s rematch,
“The mood in the room last night was unacceptable For a hockey team when you do that one night, the next night it’s all urgency, all on the line right at the start of the game.”
Leadership needed to be stronger than ever on Saturday. Rocco Carzo assisted the game-winning goal alongside another assist he got earlier in the game. He talks about some of the preparation the team did,
“We watched the clips of the game. When you watch the game, you see more than what you would see during the game and there were just some glaring mistakes. There were some glaring times where we didn’t have effort. I think that woke up the boys up a bit.”
The captain went on to talk about the recent stretch of games without a win and how this game is the one to turn it around.
“Those wins that always get you out of those slumps. Those are the bigger ones. You know once you’re in a slump it’s always tough to get out of one. Especially with this team. They’re a good team.”
Dickson added to that by saying,
“You’re playing one of the better teams in the league, you get pumped 5-1 in your own rink. That’s something you have to make sure you come to respond. We had a pretty if you want to call it heated, intense meeting this morning. Guys were called out and not necessarily rookies.”
Whatever was talked about in the meeting clearly worked because a lot of guys turned their game around as a result. Darian Dziurzynski had another big night but this one was easier to celebrate with his team earning the win. He scored a hat trick in last weekend’s overtime loss to Wichita and on Saturday scored two goals, including the game-winning goal and assisted Mike McMurtry’s goal. He and his brother David were both playing well as David Dziurzynski put up a goal and an assist of his own, a trend that appears to repeat itself pretty consistently. When one brother is on, you can usually bank on both of them being on. Darian Dziurzynski said:
“It’s such a weird thing with me and him. It seems like every time he plays good, I play good and when we’re not going, it seems like we’re both not going. That’s something me and him need to work at together. Getting each other going for each game.”
The energy for Saturday’s matchup was not all internal either. The Silverstein Eye Center Arena was sold out for Military Appreciation weekend and the players took notice to it. Starting goaltender, Mason McDonald who stopped 24 of 27 shots on the night noticed the crowd and said,
“They were behind us from puck drop and you can just feel the energy throughout the whole building it was really nice. Every save, every shot, every goal they were behind us and it was really fun.”
McDonald, who hasn’t played in a game in about a month was able to zone in quick and not take this game lightly as a first game back.
“It’s just staying sharp mentally. Not taking a break. Watching the games that you’re not playing and just staying focused when I’m in the net there. I felt good tonight, I had a good week of practice before this and felt ready to go.”
The crowd was electric and backed the home team the whole game but while a lot of the team worked off that Darian Dziurzynski still gives credit where it is due,
“I think a lot of that comes from Mase makes a huge save on a breakaway early. Gives us a little spark there. Again, in the second period, he makes an unbelievable save point blank, right in front of the net. That stuff gives us a little bit of momentum going forward. Lifts the mood up on the bench a little bit. Kudos to him for the game he played tonight.”
The Mavericks hope to carry the energy over to tonight’s contest when they will host the Rapid City Rush. Puck drop is at 7:05 CT.