The Best of the Missouri Mavericks Series will look back on the top ten moments from the inaugural season of the Missouri Mavericks.
Moment #10: Missouri's dominance over the Wichita Thunder
It is hard enough to beat a team multiple times over the course of an entire season, however the Missouri Mavericks seemed to throw that traditional thinking to the wayside. One of the biggest rivals for the Mavericks in their inaugural season was the team that resides a mere 200 miles to the southwest of the Independence Events Center, the Wichita Thunder. Not only does the proximity of these two teams make them a safe bet to become bitter rivals, but those who watched the ten contests between these two franchises could feel the palpable energy in the arenas every night.
An expansion franchise can expect many bumps and bruises along the road; however the Mavericks seemed to find a sense of comfort when seeing a match-up with the Thunder looming ahead. The first-year squad from Missouri somehow found a way to win all ten meetings with the Thunder. Even at the beginning of the season, when the Mavericks lost ten of their first fourteen games, the four wins that they attained came against (guess who) the Wichita Thunder. While two of the ten games were decided in either overtime or a shootout, the other eight contests were not quite as evenly matched. Let's take a deeper look inside the numbers:
|Shots on Goal||344||257|
|Goals Against Avg.||1.40||4.20|
Leading the offensive charge for the Mavericks was veteran forward Jeff Christian, who amassed 15 points (6 goals, 9 assists) and a +5 ratings in ten games against Wichita. Not only was the offense impressive, but the goaltending, which proved to be the Achilles heel of the Mavericks for most of the season, was exemplary in the season series against the Thunder, accomplishing two shutouts to go along with the jaw-dropping statistics listed in the table above.
The Missouri Mavericks had many ups and downs in their inaugural season. One of the many bright spots to look back on was their string of repeated successes against one of their fiercest rivals, the Wichita Thunder. Only time will tell if the Thunder can flip the switch and exact some revenge on the Mavericks. However, one thing is for certain, and that is that the tremendous postseason journey for the Mavericks would not have happened without the success that they achieved against their foes from just down I-35.