Missouri Mavericks coach Scott Hillman saw a lot of good things Friday night at the Independence Events Center.

Missouri Mavericks coach Scott Hillman saw a lot of good things Friday night at the Independence Events Center.


However, one of them wasn’t the final score, as visiting Allen topped the Mavericks 4-1 before another sold-out home crowd.


“We played as well as you can play tonight without winning a game,” said Hillman, whose team started 6-0 and is now 7-5-2 – including 0-4-1 in its last five games.


“Once again, two mistakes led to two big goals, and when you’re struggling offensively, you can’t make mistakes like that.


“But we are so much better now than we were a couple of weeks ago when this (losing) streak began.”


Allen started the game with a bang as Brian McMillin scored a power-play goal just 1:55 into the first period.


The Americans made it 2-0 at 12:08 of the second period on a goal by Tyler Ludwig. Throughout the second period, the Mavericks had several shots on goal, with three hitting the post.


“How many times do you see three shots hit the post in one period?” asked Hillman, who was sporting two black eyes and seven stitches on the bridge of his nose after a broken stick hit him in the face Wednesday night on the bench in Wichita.


“We could have had six goals tonight – and their guy (goaltender Marco Cousineau) made some great saves. So did (goaltender) Charlie (Effinger).


“Charlie came up big time after time tonight. He kept us in the game, even after they got that early goal – on a big mistake.”


The Mavericks made things interesting in the third period when defender Cole Ruwe scored on a high shot that Cousineau thought he had gloved. But it trickled into the net to make it 2-1 at 6:05.


“I’m a defensive guy and I don’t score many goals,” Ruwe said, “so I’m thinking when we get a goal like that, it could open things up, but it didn’t.


“We’re struggling and it’s frustrating. I know our fans are frustrated, but they’re not as frustrated as the guys in that locker room. We’re frustrated because we haven’t been playing well and we’re still selling this place out.


“Our fans deserve better, and we’re going to give it to them. Things are going to get better.”


The Americans’ third goal summed up the frustration of the five-game skid as Allen’s Keith Johnson left the penalty box, took a pass and fired the puck past Effinger on a breakaway score.


“You don’t see that too often,” said Effinger, who faced 32 shots. “That’s one of the best teams in the league. I think the fans saw two of the best teams in the league tonight, although we’re not playing like it right now.


“But I promise you, everyone in that locker room – coach and players – are working to make this a great team. When you’re on a winning streak, things happen that help you win.


“When you’re on a streak like we’re on now, things happen like a breakaway goal when a player leaves the penalty box. No one works harder than Coach Hillman, and we are getting better, even though you can’t see it on the scoreboard.”


The Mavericks travel to Quad City for a 7 p.m. game against the Mallards Saturday in Moline, Ill.


FESTA INJURED: Friday morning’s practice was open to the public and many fans witnessed a scary moment when goaltender Gerry Festa suffered an injury when a puck struck his eye through the bars of his mask.


Festa hit the ice and was surrounded by his teammates.


“The guys were scared, and so was I,” said Festa, who received 14 stitches on the outside and two stitches on the inside of his eye. “The puck went through my mask, and the cut was really bleeding.”


Festa attended Friday night’s game, and his eye was swollen shut.


“They said my eye is all right, and we’ll just have to see when I can come back and play,” Festa said.


A local goalie named Derek Smith took Festa’s place on the bench as a backup to Effinger Friday.