• Mavericks keeping it simple for key weekend

  • The Missouri Mavericks are taking a simplified approach to two big games this weekend at the Independence Events Center.

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  • The Missouri Mavericks are taking a simplified approach to two big games this weekend at the Independence Events Center.
    It’s a long way from Valentine’s Day, but coach Scott Hillman’s crew is taking a KISS approach to Friday’s game against the Denver Cutthroats and Saturday contest against the Tulsa Oilers – Keep It Simple Stupid.
    “We have to keep things simple because we’re missing so many guys,” said Mavericks forward John-Scott Dickson, one of the few healthy Maverick players. “Guys are missing, playing out of position – you name it. But that just gets us fired up.
    “We’re excited about the games this weekend, and think we can come away with four points. And we need them.”
    The Mavericks and Cutthroats are tied for fourth place in the CHL with 44 points, though the Mavs have played two less games.
    “We have 44, Denver has 44, Bloomington has 43, Rapid City has 41 – we’re all bunched right there in the middle,” Dickson said. “If you lose and another team wins, they can jump right over you, and we can’t let that happen.”
    Hillman agreed.
    As he pored over a group of names who might be brought in to help the Mavs during this time of need, Hillman said focus is a top priority this weekend.
    “You don’t want to be bringing in players at this time of year,” Hillman said, “but it’s almost a necessity. (Trevor) Kell is suspended one game, Kinger (Colt King) is out (with an upper body injury), Blake (Forsyth, lower body injury) is questionable. We have guys with the flu, guys with some minor things – I honestly think we are facing our biggest challenge of the season this weekend because the games are so big and so much is on the line.”
    The Mavericks have been practicing this week with an emergency backup goalie in one net and Mike Clemente, who leads the CHL with 16 wins, in the other.
    “We still are pretty sure that (Mathieu) Corbeil will be back Friday,” Hillman said, referring to the goaltender who has been called up to the American Hockey League’s Chicago Wolves. “So we’re not concerned about the goalie position. If he’s not back, we’ll address the situation. We have Clemmer, and we know what he can do. He’s been saving us all season.”
    While Corbeil recovered from an injury, Clemente played 18 games in a row and earned a CHL Goalie of the Week honor in that span.
    “Whatever it takes,” Clemente said when asked about his iron-man role this season. “We all want to see Mathieu back with the team because he makes us that much better.”
    Forward Brandon Smith, who has been playing a lot of defense while his teammates are sidelined with injuries, said simplicity is a must this weekend.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Nothing fancy,” Smith said. “Just go out and keep it simple. I’m at the point now where I can go out and just react to the situation and not think about playing offense or defense. This has been the strangest season. It’s one that when it’s over you can look back and say this happened and this happened and this happened – and you can’t believe any of it.
    “But you just keep working hard. And we have to work hard to get four points this weekend. Denver is a great team and Tulsa always gives us trouble.”

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