The Second Season is Here
Where did the regular season go? Wasn’t it two weeks ago the Missouri Mavericks were in Denver helping the Cutthroats open their first-ever season in the Central Hockey League?
Now it is time for the post season. Hockey playoffs are intense, filled with many ups and downs and memories that will live forever.
Following the Mavericks first season they took on the Mississippi RiverKings in a play-in series and the right to take on Northwest Division Champion Rapid City Rush in round two.
By finishing the regular season five points in front of the Mavs the RiverKings earned home ice advantage.
After winning game one at the IEC Missouri headed to South Haven with hopes of a series sweep.
The team bonded during the road trip with a meal provided by President/General Manager Brent Thiessen at an Olive Garden and group singing sessions on the bus as we watched a Johnny Cash video over and over.
Prior to game two the bus was packed as we planned a journey back to Independence immediately following the game.
The RiverKings had other ideas and they kept their cup hopes alive with a win that forced game three.
The deciding game was no contest as the Mavericks won the first playoff round in team history and headed home to await a visit by the Rapid City Rush, a team that swept the season series with Missouri and went 43-14-7 to capture the Northwest Division in the regular season.
Due to arena availability the Rush had to open the series at the IEC where they took the first two games.
After Rapid City went up three-games-to none in the series the Mavericks approached game four expecting to begin a four-game winning streak, leaving personal items at the hotel.
That evening they took the Rush to overtime before falling to the eventual Ray Miron Presidents’ Cup Champions. It was back to the hotel to pack the bus and return to Independence.
In season two, the Mavericks rose to fourth place in the CHL’s Turner Conference and went up against the much improved Wichita Thunder in the first round of the playoffs.
Down two-games-to one in an opening round best-of-five game series Missouri knocked off the Thunder in back-to-back games at the Intrust Bank Arena and the IEC to advance to the next round against the Colorado Eagles.
There was a bit of a premature celebration near the end of game five against the Thunder as the referee asked that two seconds be restored to the clock after it appeared to have expired with the Mavericks leading by a goal. On the faceoff the Mavericks defense did not give goaltender Robbie Nolan the opportunity to make a save and the Mavericks won three-games-to two and prepared to face the Colorado Eagles.
The Birds ended the Mavericks season with a three-games-to-one in the best-of-seven set. Missouri was not able to claim victory at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland where they had earned at least a point in every game they played during the 2010-2011 regular season.
To this date, the series against the Eagles is the only series in which the Mavericks have lost their final game on home ice.
In 2011-12 getting key goals from John-Scott Dickson and outstanding goaltending from Charlie Effinger the Mavericks, who had hoped to earn a split in the first two games of a best-of-seven set with Evansville, came home up two-games-to none.
When the series shifted to the IEC the Mavericks melted the Ice earning their first playoff sweep four-games-to none.
The biggest heartbreak in Mavericks playoff history took place in the next round. Hoping for a spilt of the first two games in Fort Wayne Missouri came home up two-games-to none in a best-of-seven round against the Komets.
The Komets then played great hockey winning game three in regulation time and game four in overtime at the IEC to knot the series at two. Following a Missouri win in game five the Mavericks headed to Fort Wayne needing to win one-of-two to advance to the championship series. It didn’t happen and the K-Men claimed the title by knocking off the Thunder.
Of the six playoff series in Mavericks history five have either been sweeps or have gone the distance in games.
No one knows how long each series will go, or who will win but expect great hockey at the IEC during the 2013 CHL playoffs.