The streak is over. The Missouri Mavericks had won 14 consecutive games prior to dropping a back-and-forth contest against the Tulsa Oilers on Sunday, who have now handed the Mavericks two of their four losses this season. The streak will go down as tied for the fourth longest in ECHL history, an impressive feat nonetheless, but record books aside, the streak was much more important for other reasons.
Throughout the course of the franchise record streak, I’ve been making notes; small observations that I’ve used either for previous articles, our Sin Bin Podcasts, or for the Sin Bin Pregame Show. I’ve been going back and forth on how to format this article, but I’ve decided I’m going to just list my thoughts out like I did when I was taking those notes. Maybe that will give you all a small glimpse inside my head, which can be a scary proposition, I know.
- The Mavericks are a very, very good team.
- The power play is improving every game.
- The penalty kill is good, but needs to be better.
- As good as Robinson and Milner have been, a 50/50 timeshare worries me for the stretch run and postseason.
- Anyone who thinks that this isn’t a physical team is only looking for booming checks and open-ice hits. Watch Pat Cullity, Kyle Burroughs, Tyler Barnes, or anyone else for that matter, go to war in the corners for a puck, then try to tell me they’re not physical.
- An eight point lead on Allen is not enough.
- Kane Lafranchise might be the most reliable player on this team.
- I’m starting to think that Tanner Fritz and Colin Markison are actually the same person.
- Andrew Courtney is starting to get hot.
- Losing Jesse Root really hurts, but what separates this team from others is secondary scoring. They’ll be fine.
- The Mavericks have to win 26 of their remaining 49 games to break their single season wins record. That’s only a .530 winning percentage clip.
- The fact that Kyle Beach has not registered a point yet in seven game blows me away. He has a great skill set and can definitely help this team.
- The six active defensemen are a combined +48 for the season. That’s not a typo.
- Call-ups and injuries are the only thing that can derail this team.
- Even when not at their best, this team always has a chance to win.
Those are just a few thoughts, but there are a couple more that I want to hit on in more detail. The first would be that there’s always a learning curve for fans, media, and yahoos like myself when a new season comes around. This one was no different. With only a few players returning from the 2014-15 team, there was a sense of unknown surrounding this team. As excited as we all were, no one really knew what to expect, and the uncertainty was unsettling. I think it is safe to say that we all have a pretty good understanding now of what this team is all about. That is easy to say after watching them win 14 in a row, no doubt. However, there will be times when they lose a few in a row. We’ll learn even more about them during those stretches. Let’s just hope they are few and far between.
Here’s my final thought on the streak: what this team learned about themselves and each other is the most vital outcome stemming from all of this. It usually takes some time building chemistry throughout the lineup, but this team is playing like they have 63 under their belts this season, not 23 where they currently stand.
Forget about the winning for a second. Pretend you don’t know the outcome of any of the last 15 games, and think about some of the little things you may have overlooked during that stretch. It is almost as entertaining as the wins themselves.
Chemistry is hard to build, but winning lends quite the helping hand in achieving that goal. When it happens this early in the season, you have the ability to put yourself one step ahead of your opponents.
The Mavericks have done just that.