INDEPENDENCE, MO – While the Missouri Mavericks have made progress since their opening weekend thumping at the hands of the Allen Americans, they are still lacking in the area that matters most, wins. The Mavericks have dropped four of their first five contests of this young season, with the lone victory coming in last weekend’s home opener against the Indy Fuel.
The Mavericks seem to have tightened things up on the defensive side of the puck, only allowing three goals against in the last two games after giving up 13 goals in the first three games, but there is still much to be desired offensively. In Wednesday night’s loss against the Quad City Mallards, the chances were plentiful. While that is definitely encouraging that the offense is on the cusp of breaking out, until they do, questions remain. A large part of the Mavericks success a season ago was due to their scoring depth. They were getting contributions from every line, and that hasn’t been the case so far. Only four different Mavericks have scored goals so far, with Radoslav Illo and Darren Nowick leading the team offensively.
The play of Illo and Nowick has been solid, yet the rest of the lineup has struggled mightily. Dane Fox and Aaron Berisha both have found the back of the net once, however, those two may be the best pure finishers on the squad, and will need to find their scoring touch, hopefully sooner rather than later. What has been surprising is the lack of productivity from players that we know are incredibly productive. Andrew Courtney (one assist in five games), Rocco Carzo (one assist in five games), and Reed Seckel (one assist in five games and 14 penalty minutes) have yet to hit their stride on the score sheet, despite playing pretty well overall.
The Mavericks head to Brampton to face the Beast for the first time since April 11, 2015, the last regular season game of the 2014-15 season. Brampton has only had three games so far this season, their record standing at 1-0-1-1. The most important number about the Beast is 14, which is the number of goals they’ve allowed in those three contests. They have a lot of talent offensively with Brandon Marino, Luke Pither, David Pacan, and David Vallorani combining for 18 points already, but the Mavericks counter with Josh Robinson, Eamon McAdam, and the recently assigned Ville Husso between the pipes.
This, however, is the weekend to get the offense on track. Brampton has struggled to keep teams in check defensively, and the Mavericks could use some scoring confidence moving forward. As stated earlier, the Mavericks had plenty of chances against the Mallards, but simply couldn’t finish. As long as the keep working as hard as they have been (see the Courtney-Nowick-Seckel line) and continue to generate chances, the goals will come. That has to be the message for coach John-Scott Dickson, knowing that frustration is mounting.
So, the Mavericks open a two-game set with the Beast on Friday night in Brampton. Hopefully, we’ll be talking about the offensive outburst and four points on Monday.