2012 Champions: Stat-Nerding the First Quarter of the Season

Pic borrowed from the CHL
After fifteen games, your Missouri Mavericks are a mere point out of first place in the Turner Division of the CHL.  That almost guarantees them a spot in the wacky CHL playoffs, and I think a first and second round bye, and a free Blizzard at Dairy Queen.  But, that's not important right now.  Of course, the season is a marathon instead of a sprint and all of that hot garbage, but it doesn't hurt that 80% of the league makes it to the playoffs...

Either way, the first half of the season has been very good to the Mavericks.  At 8-5-2 and with 18 points they have gotten off to the fastest start in franchise history (2009-10: 6-8-1, and 2010-2011: 7-6-2).  There are many factors contributing to the Mavericks success, and it all starts with the offseason acquisitions.

Here are a few bullets to think about:
How did the Mavericks get off to this decent start, well:

*C-Bass Thinel leads the team, and the league, in scoring with 24 points (6-18=24).  In fairness, Evansville's Todd Robinson has 23 points while playing two fewer games, but Thinel is clearly better than him since this is a KC hockey blog and not an Evansville hockey blog.  Although Robinson has one more assist than C-Bass, pushing our man to second overall in that category.  

*The Mavs are 7-3-1 when Thinel has a point.  They are 1-3 when he does not have a point (he had a shootout goal in the one win).

*Fellow forward Dale Mahovsky leads the team, and is in a six-way tie for third in the league, with nine goals.  Both Mahovsky and Thinel are on the positive side of plus/minus at this point, although nowhere near the league leaders.  First-year Mavs Ed McGrane and JS Dickson round out the top four scorers on the team.

*Mahovsky has the best shooting percentage on the team with nine goals on 38 shots (.237%).  McGrane has the most shots with 52, but only five goals (.096%).  Ryan Jardine has 22 shots, but only one goal (.045%), but is only the second worst among forwards (Lachlan MacIntosh, zero goals on ten shots).

*MacIntosh doesn't do much stat-wise (three points/assists, +1, two PIM in eleven games), but must pull his weight on the penalty kill to be starting so often.

*Ryan Jardine is off to a slow start.  He suffered a minor injury, he has five points (1-4=5), and has only played ten games so far.  He has not yet seen any time at the AHL level.  He had 54 points in 66 games a year ago.

*Record in games Jardine has played: 5-4-1.  Record in games Jardine has not played: 3-1-1.

*Does that mean anything?  Probably not yet...

*(Also, there is some guy named Cotton Yellow Horn playing for Allen that I never noticed before!  HOLY CRAP, name of the year candidate!)

*Vern Cooper has six points in eleven games, and is a +5.  Hopefully he is just warming up.

*The Mavs are tied for seventh in the league in goals for with 48.  They had 213 total last season.  One-fourth of that is about 53 goals, which means they are actually regressing in the goal department.  They had 200 total in 2009-10, which means they are ahead of schedule.

*In reality, the Mavs had 44 goals after the first fifteen games in 2009-10, and 41 goals after the first fifteen games in 2010-11.

*8 goals in the last five games (1-3-1).  40 goals in the first ten games (7-2-1).

*The average scoring has not translated well for the powerplay.  The Mavs are twelfth in the league at 17% on the PP.  Twelve goals on 70 opportunities.

*The Mavs have never had a good PP under head coach Scott Hillman.

*The Mavs did not actively seek to improve last year's league stingiest defense, and they have only given up 43 goals.  Last year they gave up 173 all season.  They appear to be just behind schedule in this department.

*The Mavs are fifth in total penalty minutes at this point in the season.  

*The Mavs are tied with one other team for the most players in the top twenty in penalty minutes with three.  Those three (Dave Pszenyczny, Mike Wakita, and Carlyle Lewis) total 136 of the team's 305 total penalty minutes.

*They are fourth on the penalty kill at 82.6%, giving up twelve goals.  At least they are pushing even on special teams.

*The Mavs have had one of the better PKs since last season.

*Only one active defenseman has a negative plus minus:  Pszenyczny with a -1.

*As advertised, Charlie Effinger is getting the majority of the starts (10).  Gerry Festa is not (5 starts).

*Eff-bomb is 6-3-1, the OTL being a shootout loss.  Festa is 2-2-1.  Neither have a shut out.

*Effinger has a 2.49 GAA (the league leader has a 2.15), and a .934 save percentage (the league leader has .939%).  Festa is serviceable with a 2.99 GAA and .901 SV%.  That is still better than Laredo and Rapid City's starters.

*The Mavs have won as many as six in a row (remember when they were undefeated?).  All of those were on the road.

*The Mavs were on a five game "non-win" streak until the other night, gaining one point during that time.  Three of those loses came at home, and make up the three game home losing streak the Mavs have currently. 

*The Mavs are 1-3-1 at home, as opposed to 7-2-1 on the road.

*The Mavs outscored their opponents 24-9 during the six game winning streak to start the season.  The Mavs were outscored 21-10 during their five game "non win" streak.

*Hillman thinks the Kansas-Mizzou rivalry is overrated.  Hmm... I respectfully disagree.

*Through five games, the IEC has the third best average attendance with 5,711.  That's over 98% capacity.  Good job everyone!

*The Chicago Wolves are fourth in the Midwest Division of the Western Conference after eighteen games played.  Needless to say, they are pretty average and do not have any glaring weaknesses or needs.  That can be a good thing for the stability of the Mavs, if you're into that kind of thing.

Bottom line, the Mavericks are 8-5-1 and in third, and the key players have remained relatively healthy (expect for Jardine for a few games).  Last season they really got it going mid-season, and then iced it at the end of the season to get into the playoffs.  If this team can stay away from being so streak-y, they should remain at the top of the standings.  This has to be the most talented team in the three years of the Mavs existence, but they don't play games on stat sheets.

What say you?  Have you been out to the IEC yet this year?  Watched online?  What have you seen?  Comments and opinions are welcome.

If you aren't already, you should be reading Brian McGannon's Mavs Insider.  Brian does a wonderful job gathering great insight from all of your favorite Mavs players, coaches, etc.  Basically anything you wanted to know about what Mavs personnel are saying about anything and everything.  Good stuff.  Read it!  

Also, be sure to read Mavericks Weekly every Monday on the Mavs' site for all of the weekly updates and upcoming events in Mavs World.

Of course, you can always follow your favorite CHL team at their official site and at the CHL's official site.  Also, there is info on the KC Star's site, and every now and then on the Pitch's site.