Missouri’s Josh Robinson entered this season with one goal, to be the best goaltender in the ECHL.
The ECHL announced Thursday afternoon that Robinson is the 2015-16 Warrior Hockey ECHL Goaltender of the Year.
“I had one goal this season,” Robinson said, after a spirited practice session Thursday morning on the Centerpoint Community Ice rink at the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena, “and that was to be the best goaltender in the ECHL. I wasn’t thinking about winning this award, I just knew that if I was the best in the league, we’d be a very good team and have a great chance in the playoffs.”
The 26-year-old went 28-2-0-1 during the regular season and posted a personal 21-game winning streak from Nov. 4 through Feb. 14, setting an ECHL record for the longest winning streak by a goaltender. Robinson allowed two goals or less in 22 of his 31 starts during the regular season.
“It is a big honor to receive such an incredible award, but none of this would be possible without the great support I have had all season from our coaching staff, my teammates’ incredible play around me and, of course, our fans,” Robinson said. “Individual awards are the product of great team success and I owe everything to the guys in our locker room.”
The Warrior Hockey Goaltender of the Year award is determined in a vote of ECHL coaches, broadcasters, media relations directors and media members.
Robinson, who was named to the All-ECHL first team last week, posted a league-leading 1.88 goals-against average – which ranks as the fourth-best in a single season in ECHL history – and a league-best .931 save percentage while ranking second with 28 wins.
“The guy has two losses in 31 games – and 28 wins – that’s amazing!” Mavericks coach Richard Matvichuk said. “And I know when you talk to him, all he’s going to do is talk about his teammates. That’s why the guys work so hard in front of Robo – he’s a team guy first and foremost. He doesn’t know about his stats or care about his stats, all he wants to do is win.”
Associate captain Andrew Courtney is a veteran forward who knows the impact a great goalie can have on his team.
“The great ones really frustrate you,” Courtney said, “and Robo frustrated a lot of our opponents this year. He’s the difference maker. He’s been huge in the net all season. If you have an off night, you know that Robo is back there playing his butt off, helping you win the game. We’ve had some great goalies here, and he is one of the all-time best.”
But now, the slate is clean. The Mavericks meet Quad City in Game 1 of their ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs series at 7:05 p.m. Saturday at SEC Arena. Although the Mavericks owned the Mallards – going 5-0 in the regular season against them – Robinson said that means nothing.
“It’s playoff time,” Robinson said. “We’re both 0-0. Nothing that happened – team records and individual honors – mean anything now. The playoffs are so totally different. You have two teams playing for their playoff lives and anything can happen. I can’t wait for Saturday night and I know all the guys on our team and our fans feel the same way.”
PLAYOFFS ON TV: The Mavericks’ first postseason game Saturday will be broadcast live on KSMO-TV (Channel 62, Comcast Cable channel 10) starting at 7 p.m.
“KSMO and KCTV5 are excited to continue our partnership with the Missouri Mavericks and showcase select playoff games to our broad television audience,” KCTV5 and KSMO-TV vice president/general manager Mike Cukyne said in a press release. “There was tremendous response to the first four (regular season) broadcasts and we are excited for our stations to continue to be at the forefront of bringing hockey to potential fans around the metro as the sport of hockey grows in popularity in Kansas City.”
The deal includes the potential for future home playoff game broadcasts as well.
The Mavericks’ postseason campaign begins Saturday, and continues at 4:05 p.m. Sunday at SEC Arena.
Games 3, 4 and 5 (if needed) will be in Moline, Ill., at the iWireless Center at 6:35 p.m. Wednesday and Friday, and 7:05 p.m. Saturday. If necessary, the series will return to SEC Arena for games starting at 7:05 p.m. April 26 and 27.