How sweep it is!
How sweep it is!
The Missouri Mavericks took out their brooms and swept aside Evansville Monday night at the Independence Events Center, where they claimed a 3-1 victory behind the brilliance of goaltender Charlie Effinger.
“Charlie stood on his head in this one,” defender David Simoes said. “How does he do it? That last stop? If he doesn’t make it, we’re stlll playing.”
Simoes was talking about a stop where Effinger lost his stick and dove at Matt Gens, who fired a laser beam from the right side.
“Charlie is our MVP, that’s for sure,” said forward Sebastien Thinel, who gave the Mavs some breathing room late in the game when he wrestled the puck from an IceMen defender and fired a long-range shot into an empty net to send shock waves through the IEC.
“He’s made some big saves, kept us in some games we might not have won, but that was the save of the year.”
Thinel has scored goals in each of the last two games, and each played a key role in the victory.
“I knew if I scored, we’d won,” Thinel said. “I was able to get the puck away and get off the shot – and it went into the net – thank goodness.”
John-Scott Dickson and Tristan Llewyllen never figured their first-period goals would account for most of the Mavericks’ offense.
Dickson got the Mavericks on the scoreboard just 2:09 into the first period as he took a pinpoint Ryan Jardine pass from behind the net and drilled it past Evansville goaltender Pier-Olivier Pelletier to give the Mavericks a 1-0 lead they never relinquished.
“We knew the team that scored first would have the edge,” Dickson said. “They came at us hard. They never gave up the entire game. I respect them for the way they played - they played like a team that was battling for its life.”
Llewyllen then scored his fifth playoff point on his first goal at 11:57 in a well-played first period that set the tone for the entire game.
“I don’t know where I found that lucky horseshoe, but I’m going to keep it (hanging around my neck) until the playoffs are over,” Llewyllen said, grinning.
After the game ended, Mavericks coach Scott Hillman slumped in his chair, ran his fingers through his hair and talked about the biggest win in team history.
“We’ve never been this far – making the conference championship,” said Hillman, who said he would give his team the rest of the week off.
“Clearly, three out of the four games in this series could have gone either way, and we found a way to win them.”
Page 2 of 2 - The Mavericks opened with a 3-2 victory, then routed the IceMen 7-1 on their home ice Friday night. Ed McGrane scored with five minutes left in overtime Satruday night to help the Mavericks claim a 3-2 victory and Monday’s game was not settled until Thinel’s late goal.
As his teammates celebrated in the noisy locker room, Effinger ate a postgame meal and talked about the victory.
“I feel like a little kid in a candy store,” said Effinger, who stopped 39 of 40 shots to improve to 7-0 against the IceMen this season. “This was huge. Huge! It was so much fun. Did you hear the crowd? That’s why I play this game. That’s why I love this game.”
Tickets for the next round of the playoffs, the Turner Conference finals, go on sale at noon Wednesday at the Events Center box office or www.ticketmaster.com.