After recording the best record in the ECHL regular season, the Missouri Mavericks’ season came to an abrupt end Tuesday in the second round of the playoffs.
The Mavericks fell 5-1 to the Allen Americans in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena in Independence, losing the series 4-2 in disappointing fashion.
“It’s not the ending you wanted to a great season, but it is what it is,” Mavericks coach Richard Matvichuk said. “Obviously it’s frustrating when you lose a playoff series when your ultimate goal is to win a championship. It doesn’t matter if you’re the first team out, or the last team out, it’s frustrating.”
After falling in a 3-1 hole in the series, the Mavericks won Game 5 Sunday at Allen, but couldn’t duplicate that performance Tuesday.
Americans goaltender Riley Gill made 32 saves and thwarted the Mavericks forwards the entire game.
“Riley Gill played really, really well, and that’s probably the difference in the hockey game,” Matvichuk said.
Allen outshot the Mavericks 23-16 on their way to a 3-1 lead early in the third and generally had the better scoring chances throughout the game.
The Americans, the defending ECHL champions, opened the game’s scoring midway through the first period on a slap shot by Eric Roy that deflected in off the post.
The Mavericks tied the game later in the period thanks to Ross Johnston, who found an opening right in front of the Allen goal and finished a pass from Tyler Barnes.
Allen went in front on a second-period power play. Casey Pierro-Zabotel slipped the puck by Mavericks goaltender Josh Robinson.
The Americans scored 72 seconds into the third when Greger Hanson sent a shot into the back of the net at point-blank range off a pass from Dyson Stevenson.
Hanson and Stevenson scored an empty-net goals late in the third to reach the game’s final tally.
“It hurts. You battle all season to get yourself in a great spot, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be this year,” Mavericks forward Andrew Courtney said. “We were prepared and we were ready. They just have a really good team over there. We made some mistakes and they capitalized on the chances that they got.”