TULSA, Okla.-The Kansas City Mavericks remain winless on the road after taking a 3-1 beating by the Tulsa Oilers on Friday night.
Head Coach Tad O’Had did not hold back, calling the puck management of the team “awful”.
“It was a poor effort I thought right out of the gate,” said O’Had. “There are no excuses.”
In a game that saw the Mavericks barely show up, there was not much positive to glean. The Tulsa Oilers have been a very good team early on this season, but the Mavericks rolled into Tulsa and treated them like they were playing a Junior A team. Low effort, slow skating, and as the coach pointed out, awful puck management were the death knell of the Mavericks on Friday.
There is, quite frankly, not much to say about this game. From the opening puck drop, it was all Tulsa Oilers. The Oilers won the first faceoff and didn’t allow the Mavericks to get any semblance of a cohesive offense going for most of the game. The few chances that the Mavericks did have were broken up by sticks, shin pads, and sprawling saves. But most of the Mavericks’ shots on goal were straight to the crest of Oilers goaltender Daniel Mannella. That is if the Mavericks didn’t miss the net completely which they did countless times on Friday. Mannella came into the game with a .952 save percentage, and the Mavericks did nothing but help pad this number in the game.
The three goals against the Mavericks were really not the fault of Andrew Shortridge. One of them came after he was knocked down by one of his teammates, and another came when he was sprawling to get back into position. The third came on a snipe that he had no chance of stopping.
Faceoffs were another low point for the Mavericks. Official numbers were not kept, but it can be reasonably estimated that the Mavericks hovered around a 20-25% faceoff win percentage. This comes after several games where it seemed the Mavericks couldn’t LOSE a faceoff. Loren Ulett appeared to be the most effective Maverick at the dot this evening. Usually, the Mavericks count on players like Ryan Harrison or Nick Pastujov to be their faceoff specialists. These two players were nowhere to be found in the circles on Friday.
There were two positives for the Mavericks in this game. In the first period, Jesse Mychan was assessed a double-minor penalty for high sticking. What ensued was the Mavericks’ best penalty kill of the season. They were tenacious and unrelenting in this penalty kill. Nearly every Tulsa shot was met with a shin pad, a stick, or a body in the way. The Mavericks’ penalty kill has been revamped this season to be aggressive and dynamic, and it certainly showed in that penalty kill. The other positive came in the third period when Westin Michaud scored the Mavericks’ lone goal. Michaud shot a laser beam over Mannella’s shoulder to give him a two-game point streak. But it was too little, too late.
After the defeat, Coach O’Had made it clear that he will not tolerate passengers on his team.
“Our best players were not our best players and our puck management was awful. It was the worst puck management we’ve had all season, we did not manage the puck well,” said O’Had “We’ve gotta own it, we can’t deflect, we can’t make excuses. Our top players are not being our top players right now, and our role players they have to do a better job of executing their role to a t.”
O’Had has high expectations for his team. With the coaching staff he has brought in, and the players signed, he will not accept a mediocre record.
“We are not a .500 team, we are better than that, we’ve invested a lot into this team this organization has and we will demand it. We will have some lineup changes tomorrow and if things continue there will be trades.”
After the game, the Mavericks boarded a bus bound for Allen, Texas where they will take on the Allen Americans on Saturday night. When asked how his team will rebound from Friday’s loss, O’Had stated:
“We’ll meet with the guys in the morning… and we’ll look into some roster changes and get guys who are hungrier into the lineup that deserve the opportunity. And as far as regroup you know what it’s about execution, we’ve got to be able to execute our game plan and I don’t care if you are the highest paid player or the lowest paid player on the team, we want guys out there that are going to execute.”
It goes without saying that the Mavericks need to start winning on the road. They’ve been excellent on home ice but seem like a completely different team as visitors. But more importantly, they need to strike a happy medium between passivity and aggression. They showed neither one on Friday
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