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Examiner
  • Mavericks feeling positive vibes with winning streak

  • The line began near the Hockey Republic section of Shocking Prices and wound its way to the front door of the Independence retail store.

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  • The line began near the Hockey Republic section of Shocking Prices and wound its way to the front door of the Independence retail store.
    Soon, Charlie Effinger, Sebastien Thinel, Ed McGrane, Dave Pszenyczny and CHL all-star Andrew Courtney arrived and began signing their new trading cards, posing for photos and chatting with fans Wednesday night.
    “Something like this is so much fun when you’re winning,” said Effinger, the CHL Goaltender of the Week. ‘It’s like ‘We love to watch you play,’ or ‘You’re doing so well,’ instead of ‘What’s the matter with the team?’ and ‘Why are you playing so badly at home?’ We all had a blast.”
    That last statement could also sum up the fans’ reaction to the past seven Mavericks home games.
    “We were there Sunday night when the Mavs beat Fort Wayne in the 4-3 shootout,” said Glenda Foley, who was trying to corral her 4-year-old grandson Landon. “We were with a group of people and no one was yelling louder than Landon. He loves the games and we love our Mavericks.”
    Missouri has won seven in a row at the Independence Events Center, eight of its last nine overall and now stands just three points out of first place in the Turner Conference.
    “What a difference a couple of weeks make,” said associate captain and original Maverick Carlyle Lewis, who has taken his game to a new level during the winning streak. “This wasn’t a fun locker room (when the team was 2-7-1 at home), now we can’t wait to get to the IEC for practice or games.
    “The guys in this locker room have really come together and we’re a strong team. We’re all on the same page, we’re excited and we’re having fun.”
    Cole Ruwe admits the team’s recent skid has made this most recent winning streak that much more special.
    “It was tough when we weren’t playing well,” Ruwe said. “I was out (with an injury) and saw what was happening and it was tough to watch. It was even tougher when I got back on the ice and we still weren’t playing well.
    “But look at the locker room now. Guys want to be in here. We’re having fun. Coach is having fun. A guy can make a mistake at practice and not have to worry about his job. Coach doesn’t have a blood vessel burst every time someone makes a mistake.
    “I had a former roommate tell me when I was a rookie that winning takes care of everything. I didn’t really know what he was talking about back then, but I do now.”
    The Mavericks hope to extend their winning ways when they travel to Bloomington for a 7:05 p.m. contest against the Blaze on Friday. The two teams then play each other at 7:05 p.m. Saturday at the Events Center.
    Page 2 of 2 - Effinger has been strong in the net for the Mavericks, who have been playing with just one goaltender since backup Levente Szuper left the team to play in Russia.
    “I love playing all the games – love it!” Effinger said. “I got in a rhythm and I think the guys got used to me being in the net. They know what to expect from me and I know what to expect from them. I know I probably won’t play every game the rest of the season, but I’d sure like to try. No one is having more fun than I am right now.”
    Well, no one except perhaps a much more relaxed coach Scott Hillman.
    “We have a big weekend coming up,” he said. “The chance to get four points. We went through a rough stretch and we were able to weather that storm.
    “Now, we have a team with a lot of new faces, but they are all buying into the system. Charlie has been amazing in goal. I don’t know where we would be without him, and so many other players have picked their games up.
    “It’s much for fun for everyone at the Events Center, and for me, personally, away from the Events Center. It is much more fun to talk about wins than talking about our struggles.
    “The team has been playing with a certain level of desperation, and even though we have put a few wins together, I hope we continue to play desperate hockey.”
    Because that desperation has translated into winning hockey.

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