• Winning, chemistry bonding Mavericks

  • You don’t have to look in the standings to find out how the Missouri Mavericks are doing this season.

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  • You don’t have to look in the standings to find out how the Missouri Mavericks are doing this season.
    Just visit the Independence Events Center and watch the team roll through a spirited practice session.
    Following Thursday morning’s regimented practice, captain Sebastien Thinel, Ryan Jardine, Colt King and a group of their teammates took part in a round-robin assault on the goal, taking shot after shot as CHL Goaltender of the Week Mike Clemente did his best to stop the all-out attack.
    When King scored the game’s winning goal, he pumped his fist and slid across the ice – as his teammates burst out laughing.
    “It’s fun to come to the rink when you’re winning,” Jardine said before the third-place Mavericks take on ninth-place Quad City (14-15-4) and 10th-place Tulsa (9-22-3) at 7:05 p.m. tonight and Saturday at the Events Center. “We’re all pretty confident right now, but this league has so much parity you can never take an opponent lightly.
    “We’ve lost to Quad City and Tulsa this season and we can’t let that happen this weekend.”
    The 18-11-4 Mavericks are riding a six-game point streak (4-0-2) and a four-game winning streak. They followed a 10-3-2 December with back-to-back wins last weekend against second-place Wichita and third-place Denver.
    “We have to find a way to win two games and pick up four points this weekend,” Mavericks coach Scott Hillman said. “If we don’t win two games this week, that really takes away from what we accomplished last weekend.
    “The schedule is nothing this month, like it was last month. We play two games on Friday and Saturday every weekend and three of those weekends are at home. We have a history of coming out slow in the Friday night games and we have addressed that this week in practice.
    “I’m looking for a good showing from the boys. We finally found a way to win at home and everyone is enjoying playing in front of a sold-out crowd.”
    When asked if this weekend might pose even more pressure than last weekend because fans expect the Mavericks to come away with four points, Thinel shook his head no.
    “There is no more pressure this weekend than last weekend,” Thinel said, “because there is pressure every weekend. Look at the standings – everyone is so close. There is no team in the league you can expect to beat and there is no team that you feel like you cannot beat.
    “Quad City is one of the toughest teams to play because they come after you and work so hard,” Thinel said, “and Tulsa is a good club, too. I don’t know why they don’t have more points because they always play us hard.
    Page 2 of 2 - “It should be an exciting weekend.”
    King, a newcomer this season, said this team is meshing and playing with a world of confidence.
    “It’s a lot of fun to play, to hang with the guys in the locker room, to come to practice,” King said. “After practice, you see guys hanging around, talking. No one wants to leave. When you get chemistry like that, good things happen on the ice.”
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