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Examiner
  • Determined King returns to face former team

  • Missouri Mavericks forward Colt King is making his second trip to Rapid City, S.D., since leading the Rush to the 2009-10 Central Hockey League championship.

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  • Missouri Mavericks forward Colt King is making his second trip to Rapid City, S.D., since leading the Rush to the 2009-10 Central Hockey League championship.
    In King’s first trip back to Rapid City this season, he had two assists to lead the Mavericks to a 3-1 victory that many players believe could serve as a blueprint for playoff success.
    In the Mavericks’ first season, the Rush ran roughshod over them, earning a 5-0 sweep in the regular season and 4-0 sweep in the best-of-seven playoff series.
    Now, King’s hoping to lead the Mavericks to a first-round playoff victory over his former team, and he couldn’t be more excited about the prospects.
    “It’s always meaningful to go back to Rapid City, especially in the playoffs,” said King, as the Mavericks packed their gear late Wednesday night for the long bus ride to the site of the opening playoff series. “But people are asking me if I’m excited to see old friends and go back where I played. I can see old friends any time of the year. I can call or text or send an email. We’re going to Rapid City for one reason, and only one reason, and that’s to win two games so we can come back here and clinch the playoffs at home.”
    The Mavericks start the playoffs at 8:05 tonight in Rapid City, and play the Rush on their home ice again Saturday.
    The series then returns to the Independence Events Center for 7:05 p.m. games next Wednesday and Friday and Saturday (if necessary).
    “You play 66 games during the season, and it all leads to this,” said King, who finished the season with 18 goals and 12 assists for 30 points. “To the players, this is the season. This is what you work for. This is what you live for.
    “You don’t take a minute off in a playoff game, you play hard for 60 minutes and leave everything out on the ice. That’s how we won the championship back in 2010 and that’s what we’re going to do this season to try and bring our fans a championship this season.”
    The Mavericks are all on the same page as they begin the series in Rapid City.
    “We made it simple, made the good passes, took the good shots, got great goaltending from (Mathieu) Corbeil and let Colt take care of things out on the ice,” CHL MVP and team captain Sebastien Thinel said. “If we play the game the way Scott (Hillman) prepares us to play, we are a very good hockey team.
    “We were 1-1 at their place in the regular season and if we get a win there this weekend, then we come home with the home-ice advantage.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Like King, the veteran forward and CHL scoring leader believes this is the Mavericks’ time to shine.
    “I came back to play this season,” Thinel said, “because I want to be on a team that wins the cup. We are playing our best hockey of the season right now. We are as healthy as we’ve been anytime this season. We’ve had some big wins – like the 4-0 win over Allen (last Saturday) – and our goalies are amazing.
    “We have to be aggressive, follow Scott’s plan and not be intimidated by playing on their ice. If we do that, it could be a very productive weekend.”
    Follow Bill Althaus on Twitter: @AlthausEJC
     
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