The Missouri Mavericks must play the waiting game while the Allen Americans battle for their playoff lives.
The top-seeded Mavericks are waiting to see who wins the Western Conference quarterfinal series between Allen and Idaho, as the Steelheads take a 3-2 lead over the Americans into tonight’s sixth game of their seven-game series.
Meanwhile, the Mavericks – fresh off a 4-0 sweep of Quad City – are back at the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena preparing for Round 2 of the playoffs, which begin at 7:05 p.m. Friday.
“We’re looking at tape from both teams,” Mavericks coach Richard Matvichuk said following Monday morning’s practice session. “And you know what I’ll be doing Tuesday night – watching that Allen-Idaho game.
“It’s like I’ve told you so many times this season, it’s huge that we had the best record in the league and have home ice throughout the playoffs. We know, no matter who wins the Allen-Idaho series, we start the next round of the playoffs at home, in front of the best fans in the league.”
The Mavericks turned in one of their finest overall postseason performances to defeat Quad City 4-1 and sweep the Mallards Friday at iWireless Center in Moline, Ill.
“We got a quality team effort for 60 minutes,” Matvichuk said. “It was a really good game. It was another game where we had to stay disciplined with our system and disciplined to stay out of the penalty box. I am very proud of our team.”
Defensemen Bryce Aneloski and Chris Owens scored the first two goals for Missouri in Saturday’s clincher. Forwards Rocco Carzo and Carter Verhaeghe scored the third and fourth goals.
Josh Robinson, the ECHL Goaltender of the Year, was in the net for both wins in Quad City and is ready for Friday’s second-round opener.
“I look at it as another game,” Robinson said Monday morning. “I’m not going to put any added pressure on myself by calling it more than it is – a hockey game. It’s a big game, an important game, a playoff game, but it’s just a game. And we’ve played so well this season, we don’t care who it’s against.
“Coach has done a great job this season and in the playoffs and we’ll be ready to go no matter who we play.”
Forward Reed Seckel, who scored a penalty shot goal in last Wednesday’s 4-2 come-from-behind victory over the Mallards, is taking the same approach as Robinson.
“We’re excited for Friday’s game, playing at home and all that, but we have to go into it like it’s just another game,” Seckel said. “The season is a marathon, and we won the marathon and have home ice throughout the playoffs. Now, the playoffs are here and they are a sprint. By sweeping the Mallards, we can have a chance to get healthy, get ready for our next opponent and play at home. That’s a great scenario for the playoffs.”
Matvichuk said it would be business as usual on the ice this week.
“We’re going to work the boys hard (Tuesday) and get the blood flowing, get them ready for Friday,” the coach said. “We’re getting out our hard hats, taking our lunch pails to work and getting ready for Round 2.”