Andrew Courtney remembers back in 2010 when he was a Missouri Mavericks rookie, fresh off the campus of the University of Lethbridge in Lethbridge, Alberta.
“I was a kid who had no idea what to expect playing professional hockey – the game was faster, the players were bigger and stronger – and I think that’s a little of what our young guys experienced this weekend in Allen,” Courtney said Monday night after the Mavericks returned from an 0-2 road trip to Allen, Texas, where they dropped two games to the reigning ECHL champion Americans.
“I’m not making excuses, they beat us. But we’ve had three practices with our entire team and we have young guys who have to learn what this league is all about,” Courtney added. “I’m so excited that we have a week to practice at home before we play our opener at the (Silverstein Eye Centers) Arena.
“We’re going to be a different team Saturday than we were over the weekend in Allen. We saw some good things, but we have to get our system down and our chemistry up. And we will, I know we will.”
The Mavericks peppered the Americans with 49 shots in Saturday night’s 6-3 loss and had 35 shots in Sunday’s 4-0 defeat, as Allen rookie goalie Jamie Murray recorded the shutout.
“There’s a reason they’re the defending champions,” Courtney said. “They have so many great players and they have a lot of guys who have been on that team for a long time, and the rookie did a nice job in the net for them Sunday.”
Radoslav Illo had two goals in Saturday’s loss and Dan Fox added a goal to account for all the Mavericks’ offense. Josh Robinson, the ECHL Goaltender of the Year last season, stopped 39 shots and took the loss.
Longtime Mavericks adversary Riley Gill was in net for the Americans and claimed the victory, stopping 44 shots.
Rookie Eamon McAdam was in the net for the Mavericks Sunday and came away with 40 saves while Murray recorded 35.
“We have a week to get ready for our opener Saturday and I know we’ll be ready,” first-year head coach John-Scott Dickson said late Monday night. “We need to get some chemistry working. The Americans compete at a different level than a lot of our young guys are used to.
“It was a wakeup call, and I don’t like losing the first two games of the season, but it was a great learning experience for the guys on the team. We’ll have three good practices this week and be ready for Saturday.”
• The Mavericks play host to the Indy Fuel at 7:05 p.m. Saturday at SEC Arena. Tickets in all price ranges remain for the game. Every fan in attendance will get a Mavericks magnetic schedule, and early-arriving fans will receive orange pom-poms while supplies last.