The Missouri Mavericks hope to maintain the recent success they experienced on the road as they host the Allen Americans at 7:05 tonight at the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena.
Missouri wrapped up a two-week, five-game road trip with a 4-1 record that included two wins in Indianapolis this past weekend. Coach John-Scott Dickson's team reached the .500 mark (8-8-0-1) for the first time this season.
"That's big because we got off to a slow start and wanted to be back in the playoff hunt by Thanksgiving," Dickson said, "and the success we had on that road trip allowed us to do that."
The season series between the Mavericks and Americans has been dominated by the home team as the Americans won the first two games of0 the 2016-17 campaign back in October and the Mavericks downed their longtime conference opponent 5-3 at home Nov. 15.
The Mavericks are 4-2-0-0 against the Americans on home ice dating back to the start of the 2015-16 season. Wednesday will be the second of six home games for the Mavericks against Allen, but they won’t see the Americans in Independence again until March 3.
The defending ECHL champion Americans will finish a six-game road trip today, following a visit to Tulsa Tuesday night.
"They have a long bus trip from Tulsa and we've been home a few days, so we're hoping to jump on them early and get some momentum and get the crowd into the game Wednesday," Dickson said Tuesday after a spirited practice session that ended with a lengthy shootout session.
"I'm really proud of the guys," the first-year coach added. "We've had great play from (goaltenders) Robo (Josh Robinson) and Ville (Husso), and our penalty kill has been amazing (not allowing a goal on its last 15 attempts). We won that 6-1 game Saturday where all the bounces went our way, then we ground out a greasy 2-1 win Sunday with Ville starring in the net.
"This is the team I was hoping to see, and I knew it would take some time. We're about a month into the season and we're really playing good hockey. Now, we hope to keep all the momentum going from that big road series, because after our game Wednesday, we're right back out on the road for four more games."
Husso, who won his first two ECHL starts last week and was the runner up for the ECHL Goaltender of the Week Award, is thrilled with his recent success.
"I did not start the season very well and I was disappointed in my play," said Husso, who is 2-3 with a 4.03 goals against average (2.13 in his two wins). "But the last two games have been fun and I have played much better. And the boys have been very good, especially the defense. They have been very good in front of me, making my job much easier."
DEFENSEMAN RETURNS: Defenseman Gus Young is returning to the Mavericks on loan from the American Hockey League's Chicago Wolves.
Young, 25, returns to the Mavs after a six-game call-up to the Wolves, the AHL affiliate of the St. Louis Blues. He had one assist in four games with Missouri before tallying one assist in six games at Chicago.