As their quest for history continues, the Missouri Mavericks have had some notable moments over the last few weeks. So, let’s take a look back and get you all caught up on a few things, shall we?
The entire Mavericks organization should be in serious contention for several league awards this season. The ECHL announced on Monday that addition of a new award to honor the General Manager of the Year. Mavericks GM Brent Thiessen would have to be considered the front runner for the inaugural award at this point. The Mavericks play on the ice would warrant consideration in itself, however the impressive feats that the organization has accomplished on the business and operations side stand on their own as well.
After getting Rocco Carzo back on the ice, the Mavericks lost a key contributor to their success last week in Allen. The team announced that star forward and MVP candidate Jesse Root would miss the remainder of the season and all of the postseason, needing surgery to repair damage done from the injury he sustained in the game against the Americans last week. Root took a skate to the back of the leg on a tripping call against Americans forward Spencer Asuchak which would later result in an indefinite suspension for slew-footing. The league is expected to announce the length of the suspension for Asuchak on Monday, as well as decide the fate of Mavs defenseman CJ Ludwig, who was also indefinitely suspended after a match penalty for clipping, which resulted in a broken ankle for Americans defenseman Aaron Gens. Root has centered the top line of the Mavericks for most of the season, a line that has brought the Mavericks much of their success. The recently acquired Scott Howes will help fill the void left from Root’s injury, but it doesn’t make his loss anymore significant.
The Mavericks held their annual Mac Awards on Saturday night, bringing fans, players, coaches, front office staff, and sponsors all together to celebrate the best moments from throughout the season. Here is a list of the winners from the night:
Best Goal – Tanner Fritz
Best Assist – Jesse Root & Rocco Carzo
Best Moment – Josh Robinson’s record breaking winning streak
Best Game – Comeback overtime victory over Evansville in December
Best Hit – CJ Ludwig
Best Save – Josh Robinson
Hockey Ambassador Award – James McGinnis
Man of the Year – Richard Matvichuk
Most Valuable Player – Jesse Root
Legacy Award – Andrew Courtney
Lifetime Achievement Award – Brent Thiessen
Highlights from the night include the incredibly moving speech from McGinnis, the former Olathe East football player who is recovering from a life-threatening brain injury, a wildly entertaining speech from Craig Ludwig, former NHL great and father to Trevor and CJ Ludwig, as well as Courtney and Thiessen receiving much deserved honors for what they have done for hockey in the Kansas City area.
Return of Robo
Speaking of Josh Robinson, he was released from his PTO in Springfield of the American Hockey League and appears as though he’ll be headed back to the Mavericks. That creates quite the logjam between the pipes. Steven Summerhays, though he has performed quite well during his stint here, would appear to be the odd man out. Robinson had a rough time in the AHL, so it will be interesting to see his first game back with the Mavericks. He’s a guy that prides himself on mental toughness, so I’m sure he’ll have no issues shaking off those games with Springfield.
The Mavericks have already checked one thing off of their to-do list when they clinched their first ever berth for the Kelly Cup playoffs. There is still a lot that this team wants to accomplish, with the ultimate goal of bringing a championship to the Orange Army atop that list. Here is an update on the magic numbers to check off a few other things on the agenda:
Central Division title: 2 (Mavs can clinch the Central Division with a win in Allen on Wednesday night)
Western Conference: 2 (Mavs can clinch the top overall seed in the Western Conference with a win on Wednesday as well)
Brabham Cup: 10 (Regular Season Championship)
The Mavericks would need to win 11 of their last 14 games in order to break the single season wins record that currently stands at 56 (2001-02 Louisiana IceGators). They would need to win four of their last five home games to break the home wins record that current stands at 30. They would need to win all eight of their remaining road games to break the road wins record. They need to accumulate 21 points in their remaining 13 games to break the single season points record.
While all those things would be nice and deserve to be celebrated, I will echo the sentiments of Craig Ludwig from Saturday night in that they really don’t matter unless you win the last game of the season. The ultimate goal is to raise the Kelly Cup. No one remembers a great regular season, but champions walk together forever.