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Examiner
  • Mavs face first playoff adversity

  • Two huge mental lapses by the Missouri Mavericks and a never-say-die grittiness displayed by Fort Wayne helped the Komets claim their first victory in the Turner Conference best-of-seven championship series.

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  • Two huge mental lapses by the Missouri Mavericks and a never-say-die grittiness displayed by Fort Wayne helped the Komets claim their first victory in the Turner Conference best-of-seven championship series.
    The Komets’ Jean-Michel Rizk scored two goals and Leo Thomas put the puck in the back of an empty net in the closing seconds to lead Fort Wayne to a 3-1 victory Wednesday night at the Independence Events Center. The Mavs lead the series 2-1.
    The  teams will hit the ice again at 7:05 tonight as the Mavericks try to claim their third victory and regain the momentum they had following two wins on the road in the first two games of the series.
    “We made two huge blunders defensively that led to their first two goals and they played a very strong game – just like we expected,” Missouri coach Scott Hillman said.
    “Having the series at 2-1 rather than 3-0 in our favor is huge. We stole two at their place and they came in here tonight and stole one at ours. Once again, Charlie (Effinger) was huge in the net. We just have to come out tomorrow night and find a way to win and get the momentum back on our side.”
    Effinger stopped 39 of 41 shots before he left the game for a sixth attacker.
    “They are such a good team,” Effinger said. “They have a lot of great leadership and character and they found a way to win a game they had to win.
    “We can – and we will – regroup and refocus. They are such an aggressive team. They just keep coming at you and coming at you. All I can do is everything I can possibly do to help our team win. This is a playoff series that features two very good teams, and whoever wins it is going to earn it.”
    Two Mav veterans know what it takes to win a championship.
    Ed McGrane, who scored the Mavericks’ lone goal against Nick Boucher Wednesday night, said the loss was a wake-up call.
    “We can’t make mistakes, especially when we only score two goals and don’t take advantage of our power-play opportunities,” said McGrane, who won a championship while he played in Denver.
    “We can’t keep counting on Effie to bail us out.”
    Added Pszenyczny, who was on Bosier Shreveport’s championship team last season, “We have to keep our emotions in check tomorrow night. When you make a championship run, you usually have to face some adversity. All in all, this is our adversity and we have to learn from it and move on tomorrow with a lot of confidence and faith in each other.”
    Boucher stopped 31 of 32 shots for Fort Wayne.
     
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