There is only one thing Missouri Mavericks goaltender Charlie Effinger wants today, on his 26th birthday.

There is only one thing Missouri Mavericks goaltender Charlie Effinger wants today, on his 26th birthday.

“A win at Wichita,” Effinger said Monday night at the Rib Crib, after appearing on the first Scott Hillman Coach’s Show.

“We need to get back on the winning track, and nothing would be better than doing that Wednesday at Wichita.”

After starting off the season with a 6-0 road mark, the 7-3-2 Mavericks have stumbled at home with a 1-2-1 record, including three consecutive setbacks.

Effinger was on the sidelines for the last two losses with a lower body injury and can’t wait to get back in the net against the arch rivals from Wichita.

“It’s really become a great rivalry with Wichita,” Effinger said. “It’s one of those games everyone gets up for.”

 It is the fourth of nine games between the teams this season and the Mavericks are currently 1-1-1 against the Thunder.  The teams have each scored 11 goals in the season series, and after Wednesday’s game, the teams will not meet again for over a month.

The Mavericks and Thunder started off the season at the top of their respective conferences through the first seven games, but both teams have slowed down and are chasing first place.

Missouri is in second place in the Turner Conference just one point below the Evansville IceMen while Wichita is in third place in the Berry Conference trailing the Tulsa Oilers and the Allen Americans, who will take on the Mavs at 7:05 p.m. Friday at the Independence Events Center.

“This is a big, big week,” Hillman said. “None of us are happy about the way we have been playing – especially at home. We would trade a couple of road victories for home victories because we have the best fans in the CHL.

“We’re 7-3-2 - and lately, we’ve taken our lumps. When we started 6-0 we won a couple we probably shouldn’t have. And we have lost a couple where we played well enough to win.

“We need to clean some things up defensively, and that’s been our top priority at practice this week. We’re a young team, a very young team. We have seven rookies (players with 25 or fewer pro games) and yet, we’re still 7-3-2.

“We’re making far too many minor penalties and it seems like every time we make a mistake out on the ice, it costs us a goal. And that goal costs us a game.

“We are a work in progress. We are cleaning things up every day in practice and we’re tweaking a lot of things in games. The game at Wichita is obviously big.

“They’re our rival. They hate us, we hate them – they’re three hours away and our fans can make the drive and give us some support. A rivalry like this is great for both franchises and the league.”

Mavericks notes: After starting the season 1-1-1, the Americans have gone 7-1-2 in their last 10 games and lead the Berry Conference by two points.  Allen will come into the Events Center Friday without a regulation loss on the road as they are 5-0-3 away from Allen. Missouri is 1-2-0 against the Americans all-time and 1-1-0 at the Events Center.

Mallard hunting: The Mavs and Mallards square off Saturday night at i wireless Center in Moline, Ill. The Mavericks had the Mallards number in Moline last season going 3-0-0 and Missouri outscored Quad City 10-4.  All-time, the Mavericks are 5-2-0 against Quad City and this is the first of eight games this season between the teams. Quad City is currently 5-6-0 and in sixth place in the Turner Conference and has former Mav defender Jared Lavender on its roster. The two conference rivals will meet four times in the next four weeks and three of the games will take place in Quad City.

Family Four Packs: Friday night is the first Family Four Pack night at Independence Events Center. Fans can get four tickets, four hot dogs and four Pepsi’s for $80.

Black Friday: The Mavericks will open the Top Shelf Team Store at 9:30 a.m. for Black Friday specials. Fans are invited to watch the Mavericks pre-game skate starting at 10 a.m. Enter through the Mavericks Team Store located on the east end of Independence Events Center.

Road warriors: The Mavericks have the most road wins in the CHL. Missouri is 6-1-1 on the road.

Streaks: Dale Mahovsky is riding a four-game scoring streak with four goals and three assists. The first-year Maverick and second-year pro has scored in all but two of the Mavericks games to this point in the season. Mahovsky ranks second on the team in scoring with 16 points in 12 games. He trails Sebastien Thinel, who leads the CHL in scoring with 23 points, on six goals and 17 assists.