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Examiner
  • Mavs find way to weather injuries

  • Scott Hillman sat in his office and pondered the immediate future of his Central Hockey League team.

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  • Scott Hillman sat in his office and pondered the immediate future of his Central Hockey League team.
    Five – count ’em – five Missouri Mavericks forwards are on the injured reserve list, and Hillman said that has been both a curse and a bit of a blessing.
    “Ryan Jardine, Trevor Kell, Kellan Tochkin, Colt King and Jeff Pierce are all injured – and Jards has been on the IR 30 days,” Hillman said after his team returned from Tulsa early Wednesday morning following a dramatic 7-5 victory over the Oilers. “We brought each of those guys in for a purpose, and we’ve had to play without them for quite a while. Jards is coming back today, which means a move on our roster, and we hope to get the others back soon.
    “We miss them, we miss what they bring to the team, but the new guys like (Podge) Turnbull, (Kenton) Miller and (Evan) Vossen have come in and made an impact.
    “We’ve won four of our last five without the guys who are on the IR, and that says something about the boys on the ice.”
    One player Hillman singled out was defenseman David Simoes, who played forward Tuesday night in Tulsa and scored the Mavericks' first goal of the game, helping to cut the Missouri deficit to 2-1 early in the second period.
    “You do whatever you can do to help the team win,” Simoes said after the victory. “That goal was an ugly goal – it went in off my shoulder – but I’ll take it. And we’ll take any victory at this point of the season.
    “We finally got to .500 (8-8-2), we’ve won our last four on the road and now we have to find a way to win at home.”
    The Mavericks are just 2-5 at home, and Hillman and team captain Sebastien Thinel believe the team might be pressing a bit to please the 5,800 fans who attend most Saturday night games.
    “We were 2-7 at home last year before we got things going,” Thinel said. “We want to win at home so badly, and I think sometimes we are trying so hard that we’re out on the ice thinking about winning instead of playing with the confidence we have on the road.”
    Hillman was quick to add, “When we get a few home wins, we’re going to be fine. Now, we’re trying to make that perfect pass, or we’re thinking instead of reacting, and even though we’ve played a couple of good home games, we just haven’t won as much as we should have.”
    Even rookie goaltender Mike Clemente can sense a different approach at home.
    “On the road, we get off the bus, unpack our gear, go out and play and that’s it,” Clemente said. “At home, we have a sold-out building and we want to give them something to cheer about. We really want to start a home winning streak like the one we have on the road.”
    Page 2 of 2 - The streak could start at 7:05 p.m. Saturday when the Mavericks play host to Quad City. But before that matchup, the Mavericks play tonight in Bloomington and Friday night at Quad City.
    “It would be nice to get six points and three wins before Saturday night,” Hillman said. “The boys would be confident and ready to get a win at home.”
     
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