For the second day in a row, the numbers were thin on the ice, but the energy was off the charts for the Missouri Mavericks.
For the second day in a row, the numbers were thin on the ice, but the energy was off the charts at the Missouri Mavericks Wednesday morning practice session.
“It’s going to be a challenging weekend,” Mavericks coach Scott Hillman said as the Mavericks prepared for visits from the Denver Cutthroats and Tulsa Oilers at the Independence Events Center for 7:05 p.m. games Friday and Saturday, respectively.
“We’re missing a few boys, but we’ll be fine. It’s just going to give the healthy players the chance to rise to the occasion and help this team get four big points this weekend.”
Colt King, who suffered an upper body injury in Rapid City, is definitely out of the starting lineup this weekend.
“Colt has an injury, and that’s a blow to the team because he has been playing so well,” Hillman said, “but we expect him back after this weekend. Every time this team faces a challenge, it rises to the occasion and I am sure we will rise to the occasion this weekend against Denver and Tulsa.”
The Mavericks will also be missing forward Trevor Kell, who has been suspended by the CHL one game as a result of his actions in Saturday’s game versus Rapid City.
The CHL said Kell made “unnecessary, avoidable and dangerous contact” with a Rush player during a line change. There was no penalty assessed on the play.
“When you miss key players like Colt and Trevor it just makes everyone else work that much harder,” defenseman David Simoes said. “This weekend is going to be a challenge, and everyone in the locker room is ready for a challenge. We can’t wait to get back on the ice in front of our fans.
“We’re going to need a lot of energy from them this weekend.”
Goaltender Mathieu Corbeil, who is with the AHL Chicago Wolves, is expected to rejoin the team later in the week and defenseman Blake Forsyth could return from the 30-day injured reserve list.
“We fully expect Corbeil back this weekend,” Hillman said, “and we hope to get Blake back. That would be a big bonus for the team.”
Mike Clemente is expected to be back in the net Friday, and he can’t wait to get the bad taste out of his mouth following a 5-2 loss last Saturday in Rapid City.
“We got a win Friday in Rapid and I was hoping to help us get a second one Saturday, but it didn’t work out that way,” Clemente said. “I can’t wait to get back out on the ice. This has been a strange month, just playing on Friday and Saturday every weekend after playing all those games (15) in December.
Page 2 of 2 - “It’s nice to get rested because February and March are going to be a lot more like December than January. A lot of guys are rested and getting healthy, but we’d all rather play 15 games than eight.”
And that includes Hillman, who said, “When you have the entire week off, it seems like it takes a while for the boys to get going in the first period of the Friday night game. We’ve addressed that, and it’s gotten better, but we need to come out strong all three periods against Denver on Friday night.”
The 20-13-4 Mavericks and 20-15-4 Cutthroats are tied for fourth place in the CHL with 44 points, but Denver ha played two more games.
“I’ll be saying this every weekend throughout the remainder of the season,” Hillman said, “but it’s a big weekend and we need four points. We especially need to get two points Friday because it’s getting to that point in the season where you want to get ahead of the teams that you’re tied with in the standings.”