|
|
Examiner
  • Mavs hit road intent on closing out series

  • As Simon Watson walked through the nearly empty Missouri Mavericks locker room late Sunday night, he spotted rookie scoring sensations Kenton Miller and Kellan Tochkin in the training room.

    • email print
  • As Simon Watson walked through the nearly empty Missouri Mavericks locker room late Sunday night, he spotted rookie scoring sensations Kenton Miller and Kellan Tochkin in the training room.
    “Maddx and Jett,” the Mavericks assistant director of hockey operations said jokingly, making a reference to the young sons of team captain and league MVP Sebastien Thinel, “it's time to get on the bus.”
    They nodded in agreement and headed out to the bus to begin a 13-hour trek to Rapid City, S.D., where the Mavericks hope to wrap up their best-of-seven playoff series with a win at 7:35 p.m. (Central time) tonight.
    But deep down inside, they knew that bus wasn't going anywhere without them. Miller scored two goals in Friday night's 4-2 win over the Rush and Tochkin scored the game-winner in a white-knuckle 3-2 overtime win Wednesday.
    They each scored a goal in Saturday night's 5-2 come-from-behind victory and are tied with Thinel and Andrew Courtney for the team scoring lead during the playoffs with five points each.
    “The playoffs are just different,” said Tochkin, who struggled in the Mavericks' playoff-opening loss at Rapid City. “I was intimidated. I was garbage in that game. Coach sat me and I've responded.
    “It takes a while to get used to the playoffs. At least, it took me a game to understand about the intensity of playoff hockey.”
    Miller, who set a regular-season team record with 30 goals, agreed.
    “It's so exciting and so intense,” Miller said. “It's different than the regular season. We need to go to Rapid City and play with the same intensity we played at home the last three games.”
    The Mavericks trailed 0-2 after two losses at Rapid City to begin the playoffs. Now they return to Rushmore Plaza Civici Center needing one win in two games to advance to the semifinals.
    “Three exciting wins at home don't mean a thing if we don't get one win at Rapid City this week,” Courtney said. “We can't go into those games overconfident, but we have to be confident. We came so close to stealing a win the first time we played them in the series and now, we have to keep the intensity we have from our last three games at home.”
    Thinel, a CHL legend who is seeking his first championship, agrees.
    “We have to keep it simple, and keep playing smart, physical hockey like we did in the last three games,” Thinel said. “We could have won either one of those games in Rapid, but (goaltender Tim) Boron was amazing (stopping 66 of 67 shots).
    “We found a way to beat him and (backup Danny) Battochio at home, and we are confident we can find a way to beat them at their place.”
    Page 2 of 2 - That's the kind of remark coach Scott Hillman likes to hear from his captain.
    “I believe we can go to Rapid and play with the same amount confidence we played with here the last three games,” Hillman said. “It took the youngsters a game to realize what playoff hockey is all about, and look at what Toch and Millsie and our (rookie) goaltenders (Mike Clemente, and Mathieu Corbeil) have done.
    “And with the leadership of the older guys like Sebbie, Kinger (Colt King) Chezzy (Dave Pszenyczny) and Jards (Ryan Jardine), I think we're going to be successful, very successful.”
    Hillman boarded the bus, “Maddx and Jett” found their seats and super fan Frank Spevak blasted his air horn as the bus slid out of the parking lot to continue the quest for the first CHL title in Mavericks history.
    Follow Bill Althaus on Twitter: @AlthausEJC
     
      • calendar