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Examiner
  • Kell finally making impact for Mavs

  • For 19 agonizing games, Missouri Mavericks forward Trevor Kell sat in the press box or watched from the stands as his teammates rose from the ashes of the Central Hockey League cellar.

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  • For 19 agonizing games, Missouri Mavericks forward Trevor Kell sat in the press box or watched from the stands as his teammates rose from the ashes of the Central Hockey League cellar.
    Thanks to a 10-3-2 month of December that saw the team catch fire behind the improved play of many new faces and the rock-solid goaltending of rookie Mike Clemente, the Mavericks are now in third place in the league and zeroing in on the top spot.
    “I don’t know what was more difficult,” said Kell, who broke his foot Nov. 4 in Wichita and was sidelined six weeks, “watching the team struggling and wanting to go out and help end a losing streak or missing out on the fun of the recent success.
    “I just know it’s great to be back on the ice.”
    The 18-11-4 Mavericks have won four in a row, defeating second-place Wichita 4-2 and third-place Denver 2-1 last weekend at the Independence Events Center to total 40 points and pull within eight points of the CHL-leading Allen Americans.
    Coach Scott Hillman’s team is on a six-game point streak (4-0-2) and plays host this weekend to the Quad City Mallards and Tulsa Oilers, the ninth- and 10th-place teams in the 10-team league.
    “This league has so much parity that you can’t take anyone lightly,” Kell said following a practice session Tuesday morning. “We beat two very good teams last weekend and now, we have to go out with the same intensity and find a way to beat Tulsa and Quad City.”
    Kell played a huge role in Saturday’s 2-1 shootout victory over Denver. He scored the lone goal in regulation and then scored the tying goal in the overtime shootout that paved the way to Colt King’s game-winner.
    “It’s funny,” said Kell, who has 10 points this season in his limited playing time, “Colt and I were on the bench talking about our strategy for the shootout. We had it all planned out, and then, we just went out and took what the goalie gave us.
    “You can make all kinds of plans, but usually, you just go out and shoot. And it worked for us Saturday night.”
    Hillman has been counting the minutes, the days, the weeks until Kell returned to the ice, and he has not been disappointed.
    “If Trevor doesn’t score,” Hillman said, “Colt doesn’t have the chance to score the game-winning goal. Trevor’s presence is going to be huge for this team. The fans have no idea what lies ahead with this guy because with his intensity and talent, he is going to be a very special player.”
    Kell, 26, spent last year with Fassa of Italy’s Serie A, where he ranked first on the team with 25 assists and third with 36 points and 11 goals in 45 games.
    Page 2 of 2 - The 6-foot, 185-pound forward has played in 37 career AHL games with Lowell and Albany and totaled 12 points and 14 penalty minutes.
    “Trevor Kell is an explosive hockey player,” Hillman said of the Chicago Blackhawks’ fifth-round selection in the 2004 NHL draft. “He has significant AHL experience, is a former ECHL captain and plays the game with passion and grit. Trevor will be a real leader for us this season.
    “In the short amount of time he has been back, he has made a real impact and we expect that same type of impact for the remainder of the season.”
     
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