After a 6-2 home-opening win Saturday night at the Independence Events Center and a day off Monday, the Missouri Mavericks were fired up and ready to go at a Tuesday morning workout.
“A very good practice this morning,” Mavericks coach Scott Hillman said. “They've had a couple of days away from the ice and yesterday we had a team-bonding excursion over by the race track in Kansas City, Kan.”
The Mavericks went on a zip-line adventure that made this tight-knit group even closer.
“I've never been as close to a group of teammates as I have these guys,” said veteran forward Colt King, who along with defenseman Dave Pszenyczny had to sit out the past three games for their involvement in a brawl in Arizona a week ago.
“If the team had gone 0-3 while Chezy and I were sitting out, it would have killed us. But the boys responded with three wins. I know they didn't win them for us – they won them for the team, this organization and our fans – but everyone seemed to up their game a little bit, especially the new guys.
“It was fun to watch. It would have been a lot more fun to watch from the bench or the ice, but we saw this team develop and grow. We're all thinking this is going to be a special season.”
Pszenyczny agreed, adding, “Scott has done a great job building a team that can make a run at the championship. Colt and I did what we had to do – we were protecting our teammates – and we wound up getting suspended.
“We'd never do anything to hurt our team, but we'd do it again because what happened in Arizona was not right.”
Two Sundogs went after rookie Anders Franzon and reigning CHL scoring champion and MVP Sebastien Thinel, and King and Pszenyczny stepped in on their behalf.
“Kinger and Chezy have the ultimate respect of everyone in this locker room,” Thinel said. “They had it before now. The new players know what they mean to our team – and they mean everything.”
The coach backed that comment.
“We have seen guys play a bit out of position, and play additional minutes with Colt and Chezy gone, and we have gone 3-0 and gained a great deal of experience – especially playing three games in four days at three different sites.
“Now, we have a week to get ready for our Friday (home) game against Wichita (at 7:05 p.m.) and we can't wait to get our two veterans back out on the ice.”
GOALIE HONORED: The CHL announced Monday that Mavericks goaltender Shane Owen is the league’s Oakley Goaltender of the Week.
Owen, 23, is 4-0 and has allowed only seven goals on 121 shot attempts and boasts a 1.71 goals-against average and a .942 save percentage through 245 minutes.
“Shane has been an outstanding addition to our hockey club and has delivered very consistent performances in each of his outings,” Hillman said. “He is making the saves we expect him to make and throwing in a few game-changing saves as well.”