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Examiner
  • 'Healthy' Mavs start playoff journey

  • Dave Pszenyczny owns a Central Hockey League championship ring.

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  • Dave Pszenyczny owns a Central Hockey League championship ring.
    The Missouri Mavericks defenseman won a championship with Bossier-Shreveport back in 2010-11.
    Now, he wants a second ring.
    “There’s nothing like holding up that cup at the end of the playoffs,” Pszenyczny said as the Missouri Mavericks brace for their opening playoff game at 8:05 p.m. tonight at Rapid City. “I like it that we’re going to start in their barn.
    “They have great fans, a lot like ours, really passionate, and you’re going to feel the electricity when you skate out on the ice. They’re a great team, but I think we match up with them really well.
    “We’re excited, really excited. We’ve got some young guys who have never been in the playoffs, and you can see the excitement in their eyes. We just have to go out, play our game and we’re going to be fine. We sneak back home with a win or two, and watch out. But, we need to get that win in Rapid City.”
    Pszenyczny and Trevor Kell were rested the last two weeks of season so they could be as healthy as possible for the playoffs, and coach Scott Hillman said his team is the healthiest it has been at anytime this season.
    “We have players miss a total of 170 games this season due to injuries,” Hillman said. “I’ve never seen anything like the injuries we had this season, unbelievable. We have Kell and Chezzy back at 100 percent, everyone else is as healthy as you can be at this time of the season and we’re playing some very good hockey.”
    The Mavericks enter postseason play having won five of their last seven games, including a 4-0 victory over first-place Allen on the Americans’ home ice.
    “There is one positive way to look at all the injuries,” said defenseman Jesse Perrin, who became a rock on the Mavericks’ back line. “We had to play with so many different guys, we got used to playing with multiple players and we were able to learn their tendencies.
    “Now, that we’re all healthy, Scott can go with a set line in the playoffs and we can have some consistency.
    “And we have so much faith in our goaltenders. Mike (Clemente) was there for us all season and Mathieu (Corbeil) has been great now that he’s back with the team (after spending much of the season with the Mavericks’ AHL affiliate Chicago). Whoever is in goal, we’re going to have total confidence in their ability.”
    Hillman said there are some keys to success for his team, and they are simple.
    “We have to keep it simple,” he said. “We have to do what we do best, we have to make the most of our scoring opportunities and we have to play great defense because Rapid City has two great goalies and I don’t see a lot of goals being scored in this season.”
    Page 2 of 2 - The Rush feature Tim Boron (the CHL Goaltender of the Month for March) and Danny Battochio in the net while the Mavericks have Clemente, who led the CHL with 25 wins, and Corbeil, who has a 2.69 goals-against average in his 20 games in the net.
    “There are a lot of similarities between the two teams,” Pszenyczny said. “The team that makes the fewest mistakes and gets some good bounces is going to come back to Independence with a win or two.”
    MILLER HONORED BY CHL: Rookie forward Kenton Miller has been named the recipient of the 50/50 Central/CHL Rookie of the Month for March.
    The Redvers, Saskatchewan, native finished the month with 11 goals in 15 games and totaled 16 points. The first-year player had three multiple-goal games and finished the month strong with half of his points in his final four games. His five goals and three assists in the final week of the season earned him recognition as the Oakley CHL Player of the Week.
    Miller is the third Maverick to be named rookie of the month this season as he joins Mavericks forward Kellan Tochkin and goaltender Mike Clemente.
    Miller joined the Mavericks this season as an assigned player from the Mavericks’ AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves, and earlier in the season played six games with the Wolves.
    The 6-foot, 190-pound forward finished the season tied for second among rookies in scoring with 51 points and his 30 goals set a franchise record for a single season.
    Follow Bill Althaus on Twitter: @AlthausEJC
     
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