• Mavs look to break Thunder jinx

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    • Three-in-three

      What: Missouri Mavericks (26-12-2, 54 points) vs. Wichita Thunder (19-19-4, 42) and Allen Americans (25-13-4, 54)

      When & where: 7:05 p.m. Friday and 5:05 p....

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      What: Missouri Mavericks (26-12-2, 54 points) vs. Wichita Thunder (19-19-4, 42) and Allen Americans (25-13-4, 54)

      When & where: 7:05 p.m. Friday and 5:05 p.m. Sunday vs. Thunder at Intrust Bank Arena, Wichita; 7:05 p.m. Saturday vs. Americans at Independence Events Center

      What's on the line and notes: The Mavericks play a three-games-in-three-days stretch. The Mavericks are tied with Allen with 54 points, two behind Rapid City. But the Mavs have played one less game than Rapid City and two less than Allen. … The Mavs have a five-game winless streak against Wichita (0-3-2) after winning the first two games this season, 4-1 and 3-0. The Thunder have a 5-2-0 edge in the Independence Cup series, meaning the Mavericks will ahev to win the remaining three games to tie it. First tiebreaker is the team with the most points in the 10-game series followed by goal differential. … The Mavs are 1-1 against Allen this season, splitting a home-and-home Dec. 13-14. … Jon Booras is Wichita's leading scorer with 49 points (15 goals, 34 assists) but he has the second-worst rating (minus-4) among the CHL's top 20 scorers. Allen's leading scorer, Alex Lavoie, was named the CHL Rookie of the Month for January with 14 points (6, 8) in 11 games and plus-12 rating. He has 55 points (20, 35) for the season. Sebastien Thinel continues to lead the Mavs in scoring with 52 points (12, 40). Mavs goalie Shane Owen leads the CHL in wins (21) and is fourth in goals-against average (2.59). … The Mavs (85.47 percent) and Americans (84.44) have the second- and third-best penalty kill units in the CHL. Wichita is seventh (80.65). The Mavs have the second-best power play (21.25) and Wichita (20.71) is third. Allen is sixth (18.10). … Wichita has won three straight while Allen has lost three straight heading into today's games.

  • The Missouri Mavericks visit their version of the CHL's Evil Empire at 7:05 tonight when they take on the rival Wichita Thunder in another must-win contest at Intrust Bank Arena.
    The Mavericks are tied with the Allen Americans for second place in the CHL with 54 points while Rapid City used a 2-1 victory over Denver earlier this week to climb to 56 points and take over sole possession of the top spot in the standings.
    “But Rapid City has played one more game, so if we can get a win at Wichita Friday, we're back in a first-place tie,” said Hillman, whose team is 0-3-2 in its last five contests against the Thunder – who, if the season ended today, would not make the playoffs as they stand in ninth place.
    “So we see this as a must-win game, and the boys are excited about the prospects of playing Wichita. Of those five losses, two have come in overtime shootouts, two have come by one-goal deficits and in the worst game we played this year we lost 8-6.
    “We won the first two times we played the Thunder, and we have to get back to our winning ways. I've looked at those last five games, and a play here or there and it could have been a different outcome.”
    Team captain Sebastien Thinel said something has to give when the Mavs travel to Wichita.
    “We have had Tulsa's number (7-0 this season and 9-0 overall in the last nine games against the high-scoring Oilers), and Wichita has had our number,” Thinel said. “We play them close every time we play, and we just need to find a way to get a win.
    “And we need a win Friday. We want to finish in first, and you can't leave points on the table at this point of the season. Scott has done a great job getting us prepared for the game and now, we have to go out and find a way to win.”
    The Mavericks will have the winningest goalie in the league in the net tonight with Shane Owen, who sports a 21-9-1 record and 2.59 goals against average.
    “I think we've really played well against Wichita this season, but you couldn't tell by looking at our record in the last five games,” Owen said. “We've had some bad bounces, some back luck – and Wichita has accounted for some of that bad luck. They play well against us.
    “You look at the standings and can't believe they're in ninth place. You'd never think that, the way they play against us. We're due for a win, and this is a huge weekend with games at Wichita Friday and Sunday and the big home game against Allen on Saturday.
    “We have to keep playing our best hockey of the season. If we could get six points this weekend it would be huge.”
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