Kyle Hood just chuckled when he heard someone ask about how players survive a 20-hour bus trip.
“Twenty hours is nothing,” said Hood, a former member of the Arizona Sundogs who was traded to the Missouri Mavericks last season. “When I played in Arizona, Missouri was one of the closest teams we played. We looked forward to the 20-hour trip because most of them were longer than that.”
Hood and the Mavericks are hoping to keep the momentum gained from a Game 1, 3-2 shootout win at St. Charles last Saturday as they play the Sundogs Friday and Saturday in nights in Prescott Valley, Ariz.
“We found a way to win that first game,” said Hood, who led the Sundogs in scoring for three consecutive seasons, “and we have to do our best to bring home four points from Arizona.”
The Mavericks survived 10 Chill power play opportunities in Saturday's win, allowing just one power-play goal with 1:11 left in the game and a highly unusual goal that was tipped into the Mavericks net by Missouri defenseman Matt Stephenson.
“I'd grade our penalty kill unit an A-plus after Saturday and our power play unit an F,” Mavericks coach Scott Hillman said. “We had the one quirky goal where we put it into the net, but we were outstanding on the blue line, and our penalty kill unit did a great job, especially for this early in the season.”
Hillman also praised the play of first-year goaltender Shane Owen, who stopped 29 of 31 attempts in regulation and overtime and three of four shootout attempts.
“Shane rose to the occasion, along with the rest of the defense,” Hillman said. “We really like what we see from him, and we have significantly upgraded our blue line this season.”
Hillman added the team is looking forward to the trip to Arizona, which will begin at 3 p.m. today.
“We're leaving Wednesday afternoon,” the coach said, “and once we get there, the boys have 48 to 72 hours to think about nothing but hockey. They have been doing a lot of appearances and have been working hard in practice.
“We'll get down to Arizona a day early, give them a little time to relax and get after it Friday and Saturday.”
CHL LABOR AGREEMENT: The CHL announced Tuesday that owners have reached an agreement with the Professional Hockey Players Association on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement for the 2013-14 season.
“Our bargaining team has worked tirelessly throughout the off-season and we are pleased to move forward with the approved Agreement,” new CHL commissioner Steve Ryan said in a press release. “I would like to specifically thank the owners and the players for reaching this agreement and for their vision in the future of the Central Hockey League. Furthermore, I would like to thank the fans for their continued support of the league as we share in their excitement and enthusiasm to drop the puck and welcome in the 22nd season of CHL hockey.”
Many components of the deal are in line with the previous CBA, and owners have made it a priority to look after the welfare of its players and their families.
“This was a difficult but thoughtful negotiation where the league and its counsel worked with us to find solutions to common problems,” PHPA executive director Larry Landon said. “We are happy to get this deal in place as our focus now turns to working with the new ownership group to continue building a stable and prosperous environment for owners and players alike.”