Last week, Missouri Mavericks coach Scott Hillman was discussing a grueling holiday week schedule that included a Tuesday game at Bossier-Shreveport, a Wednesday affair at the Independence Events Center against Bloomington and back-to-back games tonight and Saturday against the Rio Grande Killer Bees.

Last week, Missouri Mavericks coach Scott Hillman was discussing a grueling holiday week schedule that included a Tuesday game at Bossier-Shreveport, a Wednesday affair at the Independence Events Center against Bloomington and back-to-back games tonight and Saturday against the Rio Grande Killer Bees.

“The schedule maker wasn’t very kind to us,” Hillman said, “but you have weeks like that and you have to persevere. We need to be at least .500, and I’d like to see us do even better than that.”

The Mavs were a train wreck in a 6-1 loss at Bossier-Shreveport, then the hometown heroes came out and took a 1-0 lead 21 seconds into Wednesday night’s 3-2 loss to Bloomington as they fell flat in the second period and couldn’t quite come all the way back to tie the game in the third period.

“The boys learned (Wednesday) tonight you have to play 60 minutes to win in this league,” Hillman said, after the Mavericks dropped their second game in as many nights and fell to 7-6-2 on the season.

“We played with a lot of energy in the first period and had some great shots on goal. When Carlyle (Lewis) scored so early, we all thought this was going to be our night.

“The second period had no energy at all, our fans deserve much better than that, and we played with desperation energy in the third period and scored the short-handed goal, but couldn’t tie the game.

“We have to evaluate our situation.”

That evaluation could include the possible return of forward Bill Vandermeer, who shattered both heels when he fell 25 feet this past summer while pruning a tree.

“Bill is very close to coming back,” Hillman said. “We will look at him one more time. He’s been working hard and we need a boost on offense and he could give that to us.”

The Mavericks locker room was quiet as a library following Wednesday night’s loss.

Players sat around in their uniforms and hockey gear long after the game had ended.

“We need to play for a full 60 minutes if we want to get back to winning,” Lewis said. “We had a lot of energy the first period and honestly, we had so many great shots we could have been up by four or five goals.

“Then, that second period was just awful. No energy, nothing. We can’t play like that, especially at home.

“And now, we have Rio Grande here for two games, and I know it’s early in the season, but these are must-win games.

“We’re a game above .500 and we have to keep our record above .500. When we won the three games in a row (before the recent two-game losing streak) we were getting great defense and scoring some big goals.

“We haven’t really done either one of those things the past two nights and look what’s happened – we’ve lost both games.”

Lewis scored his first goal of the year just 21 seconds into the game off assists from Simon Watson and Derek Pallardy.

That would be it for the Mavericks offense until Nick Sirota scored on a short-handed goal early in the third period.

A disastrous second period would provide the outcome of the game.

While the Mavs offense flourished in the first period, they struggled to mount any offensive pressure on Bloomington goaltender, Marco Emond, only recording five shots on net.

The PrairieThunder’s offense exploded in the middle frame. Bloomington piled up three goals on 17 shots over a seven-minute span.

Craig McDonald got the scoring started with a power play goal at the 7:11 mark. Assists went to Alan Mazur and John Snowden.

The PrairieThunder struck again just three minutes later, when Brian Kaufman found the back of the net on a pass from Brett Holmberg.

Jon Booras scored the eventual game winner on another power play goal as the PrairieThunder took a 3-1 lead into the final 20 minutes of play.

The Mavericks wrap up their four games in five nights stretch tonight and Saturday with 7:05 p.m. games against the Killer Bees. Tickets in all price ranges remain for the two games.