Well, it wasn't the best week of hockey that we've seen all season. After getting thumped in back to back games against Allen and Quad City respectively, the Missouri Mavericks bounced back for consecutive wins, knocking off St. Charles on Friday before returning home to exorcise their demons against the Wichita Thunder on Saturday.
The cynic in me wouldn't put too much stock into the victories against the Chill and Thunder. We're supposed to beat those teams, right? After all, we're at the top of the standings, and they're.....well.....not so much. I would hope that after a couple of rough weekday games (that's the nicest I could put it), that this team would bounce back and win two very winnable games. They did, and I'm pleased that it went that way, obviously. Two points is two points, so I'm going to try and not complain too much. To state the obvious, I think we all hoped that the Mavs would have handled to cellar-dwelling teams a little more handedly than they did. Granted, Wichita has had the Mavs' number for quite some time now, and any win over our foes to the west is welcomed more than Spring in Kansas City, but we're getting down to crunch time.
We've talked before about how the season is like a rollercoaster ride: it goes up and down whether we like it or not, and that's what makes it fun. For the past ten days, we've been in a little funk, yet somehow managed to go 2-2-0 in that stretch. Most of the time, playing less than stellar hockey at this point in the season can doom a team, but we managed to keep our heads above water during a rough stretch, and maybe that's something that this team has learned how to do this season. Maybe they've learned that you can will your way to a win, even when the team isn't firing on all cylinders.
Now to my high priority concern. As I was perusing through some of the statistics for the Mavs, I've come across some interesting, yet glaring, tidbits of information. The long-standing joke (even though it's true 99% of the time) is that if a player is struggling, just put them on Sebastien Thinel's line, and all will be fixed. We all know how special of a player Sebby is, as we've watched the magic unfold before us night after night. However, if you dig a little deeper into the contributions that his line has made this season, it's definitely noteworthy. Take a look for yourself. The line of Thinel, Eric Castonguay, and Mike Ramsay has carried their share of the weight (for the record, I'm using Ramsay as the third member of the line since he is currently on the first line, even though Courtney has logged some minutes with Thinel and Castonguay as well):
|Thinel/Castonguay/Ramsay||% of Team Total|
To call that impressive would be quite the understatement. What they've been able to accomplish is incredible, but could also be a warning sign for this team. Let's be honest, when this line has struggled, so has the team. If the Mavs want to guarantee home-ice throughout the playoffs and have a legitimate shot at their first championship, they are going to need other guys on this team to step up. It's not like they'll have to look far. Andrew Courtney's postseason heroics are well-documented, Colt King already has a championship under his belt, John-Scott Dickson is about as reliable as it gets, and Trevor Kell seems to get better with each game.
That's not going to be enough though. The Mavs will need a guy like Evan Vossen, Rob Kleebaum, or Obi Aduba to catch fire. They will need an unexpected hero to etch their name into the team's history books. Someone on this team will rise to the occasion. Who will it be? Orange Pride.