Mike McMurtry has scored a game-winning goal, visited The Plaza and learned his way around Independence.

But the Kansas City Mavericks 25-year-old forward has not experienced the Orange Army, the rabid fan base that has made the ECHL squad one of the top drawing minor league teams in the country.

That changes at 7:05 p.m. Saturday when the Mavericks play host to Wichita in the 2017 home opener at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena.

"I can't wait," said McMurtry, who had a regulation goal and the lone shootout goal in Wednesday's 4-3 come-from-behind win against the host Kalamazoo (Mich.) Wings. "I've heard so many great things about our fans at games. I've experienced how great they are at events and at our practices, and Saturday night, I get to find out what all the guys have been talking about.

"I hear they are the best fans in the ECHL and I can't wait to go through those doors, out onto the ice, to play for them."

McMurtry isn't the only newcomer to savor tonight's opener.

"I already feel like I know our fans because we have met them at practice and when we're out in the community," goalie Mason McDonald said, "but to have 5,800 of them cheering for us Saturday night is going to be great. I hear the atmosphere here for games is unbelievable, and I can't wait to experience it first hand."

The Mavericks started the 2017 season with four road games, and are returning home with a 3-1-0-0 record that includes two memorable come-from-behind wins, including the victory in Kalamazoo against the previously undefeated Wings.

"This group is solid," Mavericks coach John-Scott Dickson said. "There's no panic. They love the game, they love to hit the ice and they play hard. We've had four games, and they already feel like a team that has been together all season. We're having a good time and can't wait for the home opener."

Team captain Tyler Elbrecht said there is a reason for the early-season success.

"Everyone knows his role and is going out and taking care of business," Elbrecht said. "We're a couple of weeks into the season, but we already feel like a team. I think a lot of that has to do with trips to Allen (for two preseason games against the Americans) and starting on the road for our first four games. You're on the road, you're going to hang out with your teammates.

"And that's paying early season dividends. And, we have a great coaching staff and a lot of talent on this team. I know it's early, but I feel like this could be a special season."