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Examiner
  • Mavs roll to sixth straight win

  • The Missouri Mavericks found it hard to focus on Friday night’s game against the Arizona Sundogs.

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  • The Missouri Mavericks found it hard to focus on Friday night’s game against the Arizona Sundogs.
    But they managed to do it – especially early – and block out the tragedy in Connecticut for a while in a 7-3 victory at the Independence Events Center.
    Spurred by a five-goal first period, the Mavericks recorded their sixth straight win and their second in a row at home, but the man who scored a goal and added an assist found it hard to celebrate following the impressive win.
    “All the guys with kids – me, Jards (Ryan Jardine) and Simmer (David Simoes) – talked this afternoon about what happened in that classroom in Connecticut,” said Mavs captain Sebastien Thinel, as his young boys Maddx and Jett played hockey with a tennis ball in the Mavericks locker room. “Ironically, I found out about it when I picked up Maddx from preschool. When I got home, my wife was crying. I usually take a nap on game day, but not today. I just wanted to hug my boys, be around them, appreciate that they are alive and well.
    “All I could think about were those poor parents, having to wait to see if their children were all right. How could you deal with something like that? ”
    Mavericks coach Scott Hillman, whose youngest son Gunhar attended the game, simply shook his head in disbelief when asked about the shooting spree that claimed the lives of 20 children.
    “We play a game,” Hillman said after the Mavericks won the first of four games in five nights, “and sometimes, we think of it as life and death. We all found out what life and death is all about today in Connecticut.
    “Our hearts go out to those families. I gave my boys some extra hugs today.”
    The Mavericks turned down the arena lights and honored the victims with a moment of silence before the game started.
    “We play a game,” Mavericks president and general manager Brent Thiessen said. “None of us will ever know or could even imagine what the parents are going through who lost their children. There are presents under the Christmas trees in many of those homes that will never be opened …”
    The mood at the Events Center was respectful and quiet before the start of the game, but when Andrew Courtney scored off a perfect pass from Brandon Smith minutes into the first period, it gave the fans something to cheer about.
    Just 1 minute, 3 seconds later, Thinel scored his first goal, and the rout was on. Arizona's Chad Nehring scored a goal to make it 2-1, but by the time the period had ended, the Mavericks owned a 5-1 lead as Podge Turnbull – who tallied four points in the game – John-Scott Dickson and Brandon Smith scored goals.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Winning the first of four in five (days), especially winning at home, is huge,” Smith said. “We worked within the system, and played a strong game tonight. We didn't get behind and panic – you know, where you grip your stick so tight you can't play your game. We played within Scott's system and got a huge win.”
    Evan Vossen and Kenton Miller scored the Mavericks’ final two goals in the second period.
    “A big night offensively, which I always appreciate,” said Mavericks goaltender Mike Clemente, who won his sixth game in a row. “When they cut our lead to 6-3 and Miller scored to make it 7-3, that was huge.”
    Austin Lee played goaltender the final period and Kyle Hood, who was just acquired in a trade from the Sundogs, played forward for the Mavericks.
    Former Mavs Brian Bicek and Matt McCready did not play for the Sundogs.
    “I was surprised Bicek and McCready didn't play,” Hillman said. “We're looking for some big things from Hood. Once he gets in a few practices and gets familiar with his new teammates, he's going to be a player the fans are going to enjoy watching.”
     
     
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