Before every Missouri Mavericks home game, a graphic stretches across the banner scoreboard inside Independence Events Center, featuring a message that ushers the franchise into a “new era” — one centered around its new league, new coach and, most recently, new owner.
The Mavericks closed out the home portion of that new era Tuesday with a 5-1 win against Brampton in front of an announced sold-out crowd of 5,800 at IEC.
In its first season under the ECHL umbrella, the Mavericks will conclude the 2014-15 season with a return trip to Brampton for back-to-back games Friday and Saturday.
For the first time in franchise history, the season will finish without a berth into the postseason.
“It’s just one of those seasons where you have to win games early, and if you don’t win games early, you find yourself in this situation,” said Mavericks forward Andrew Courtney, who contributed his franchise-record 36th goal of the season Tuesday.
Courtney helped provide a satisfying home finale to an otherwise turbulent season under first-year coach Richard Matvichuk.
The Mavericks, 27-35-4-4, have spent the bulk of the season out of the playoff picture, a fact inhibited by their offensive struggles. Missouri entered play Tuesday dead-last in the Western Conference with 183 goals in 69 games.
“It’s sad. It’s tough,” said Mavericks goalie Mike Clemente, who made 22 saves Tuesday. “We don’t like being done in April.”
The final piece of that aforementioned new era — Lamar Hunt Jr., who was introduced on Feb. 6 as the franchise’s new owner — has offered an optimistic outlook for Missouri’s future. At least a portion of that perspective has centered around a desire to garner an NHL affiliation. In attendance Tuesday, Hunt offered no news on the progress toward that goalTuesday, other than to say the franchise still is working toward it.
In the meantime, Missouri’s final appearance in Independence this season was a promising foreshadow for a potentially bright future.
Courtney capped the five-goal output with his 36th goal of the season, the franchise’s single-season record.
Chris Owens staked the Mavericks to a 1-0 lead only 6 minutes, 24 seconds into the game with a shot from the high slot, and Ludwig Karlsson and Brett Stovin followed with second-period goals to push the advantage to 3-0. Karlsson added his second goal of the night in the third period.
“This locker room is better that it’s been all year,” Courtney said. “We’re more of a team. There’s some great talent and skill in there.”