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Examiner
  • Loss gives Mavericks sense of urgency

  • When the Missouri Mavericks play host to a CHL opponent following a loss, the game takes on added urgency – especially when that loss is a heartbreaking 2-1 affair to a Denver team that slipped ahead of coach Scott Hillman’s team into fourth place in the league standings.

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  • When the Missouri Mavericks play host to a CHL opponent following a loss, the game takes on added urgency – especially when that loss is a heartbreaking 2-1 affair to a Denver team that slipped ahead of coach Scott Hillman’s team into fourth place in the league standings.
    The Denver Cutthroats came to the Independence Events Center Tuesday and used a late goal to claim a victory that left a bad taste in the team’s mouth.
    “That’s one of those losses where you want to play the next night to get the bad taste out of your mouth,” Mavericks captain Sebastien Thinel said. “We have 20 games left this season and every game is important – but the last 20 are very important. We need to put together another winning streak and we need to start Friday against Bloomington.”
    The Blaze, who come to the Events Center for a 7:05 p.m. game today, currently hold the eighth and final playoff spot with 50 points. That’s just four points out of fourth place, where Denver is currently sitting with 54 points. The Mavericks are in fifth place at 52, and Rapid City and Arizona are tied for sixth with 51 points.
    “The days of one team dominating another team are over,” veteran forward Colt King said. “There is so much parity in the league right now. (Last-place) Tulsa recently won five in a row.”
    The Mavericks addressed their penalty kill woes with a special team meeting Thursday afternoon. The Mavericks are last in the CHL with a 77 percent kill rate. In last Sunday’s 6-3 win at Bloomington, all three Blaze goals were scored on power-play opportunities.
    The Cutthroats scored the game winner Tuesday with just over a minute left in the third period on – you guessed it – a power-play goal by Luke Fulghum.
    “We have to cut down on our penalties, especially the penalties late in a close game,” Hillman said. “We have to play smarter hockey and we have to get better production out of our special teams.”
    The Mavericks also need to score at least three goals a game the rest of season because Missouri is 22-5-4 when it scores three or more goals and 2-13 when it scores two or less.
    “We just need to play our best hockey of the season over (the next 20) games,” defenseman Dave Pszenyczny said. “We’re shorthanded, but it seems like we’ve been shorthanded most of the season. I’ve told you before, that doesn’t bother us. We see it as a challenge. Every guy in this room is going out to win every time we step on the ice.
    “Hilly (Hillman) knows that, and I think our fans know that. And we’re going to need a full barn on Friday. We get a lot of energy from our fans.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Kellan Tochkin, the CHL Player of the Week last week, agreed.
    “When we come out of the locker room and look up and see a full house it gets us excited and ready to go out and play,” Tochkin said. “I’ve never played in front of this many fans, and I know a lot of the other guys, especially the young guys, feel the same way. We really appreciate our fans – we may never play at another level where we have this kind of support and we want to give them everything we have every game the rest of the season.”
     
     
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