• Mavericks rally for huge win

  • As Missouri Mavericks coach Scott Hillman walked off the ice to a deafening roar, he simply smiled and said, “Can we have a re-do on the goal of the year?”

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  • As Missouri Mavericks coach Scott Hillman walked off the ice to a deafening roar, he simply smiled and said, “Can we have a re-do on the goal of the year?”
    He was referring to the annual Mac Awards, where miniature Oscar-like statuettes of team mascot Mac are given to players for accomplishments both on and off the ice.
    In another must-win game Friday night at the Independence Events Center, veteran forward Ryan Jardine scored the game-winning goal on a play that had to be seen to be appreciated.
    “I've never seen a better goal – just outstanding,” said Hillman, whose Mavericks overcame a 2-0 deficit to claim a 4-2 win over Denver and secure their fifth-place standing in the CHL. “When we week started we were tied with Denver, now, we've put a little space between the two teams. We've won a couple in a row (over Denver) and now we have to find a way to keep that streak going this weekend.”
    The Mavericks play back-to-back games Saturday at home and Sunday on the road against Quad City – a team that destroyed the Mavericks last weekend, claiming 7-2 and 7-1 victories.
    More on that in a moment – now, back to Jardine and Co.
    It appeared for 39 minutes and 54 seconds that Denver goalie Kieran Millan might find a way to blank the Mavericks, as he stopped every shot in sight until Evan Vossen found the back of the net with just six seconds left in the second period.
    “I don't have the opportunity to score the game winner if Evan doesn't get us going at the end of the second period,” Jardine said. “His goal was the game changer. We came into the locker room after that goal with a lot of confidence.
    “You could see that we played with much more confidence in the second period.”
    The Mavericks looked like a different team as Jesse Perrin scored just 2:29 into the third period of action and goalie Mathieu Corbeil made brilliant back-to-back stops on CHL MVP finalist A.J. Gale, who fired a shot that bounced off Corbeil's chest.
    The Cutthroats’ leading scorer then fired the rebound shot at Corbeil and he batted it away with his glove hand.
    “Corbeil stood on his head tonight,” Jardine said. “It's great to find a way to win a must-win game like this when you play so poorly – especially the second period. Mathieu kept us in the game and we found a way to win it.”
    At the 17:07 mark of the third period, Jardine stole the puck and raced toward the net.
    “I saw a forward in front of me, and I knew he wouldn't be as difficult to get past as a D (defender), so I just went at the net and was lucky.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Hillman disagreed.
    “That was skill, that was a veteran player coming through in a must-win game, that was Ryan Jardine at his best,” the coach said. “That was one of those goals you never forget.”
    The Mavericks won't have long to enjoy the win as the brace for two games against Quad City – today at 7:05 p.m. at the Events Center and Sunday at 4:05 p.m. in Moline, Ill.
    “We're ready for Quad City,” Jardine said. “We know what they did to us last weekend – everyone knows what they did to us. We just need to go out and keep it simple and we should be fine.
    “We're playing with a lot of confidence right now and Corbeil and (Mike) Clemente have played well in the net. We're a much more positive and confident team than we were earlier in the week. We have a big challenge ahead this weekend and we're ready for it.”
    CHL scoring leader Sebastien Thinel added an assist and empty-net goal in the closing seconds to finish with two points and pad his total to 88 points. The Mavericks have six games left and Thinel will have to average two points a game to reach the 100-point milestone.
    Follow Bill Althaus on Twitter: @AlthausEJC

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