The Missouri Mavericks claimed their most exciting point of the season Wednesday night when Brandon Smith knotted the score at 3-all with less than a second left in the final period.

The Missouri Mavericks claimed their most exciting point of the season Wednesday night when Brandon Smith knotted the score at 3-all with less than a second left in the final period.

However, the Quad City Mallards fought back and claimed a 4-3 victory and two points when Bob Preece scored the second shootout goal for the Mallards in the eight-round, sudden-death thriller.

“I couldn't be any prouder of this team, especially the way they fought back in the third period,” Mavericks coach Scott Hillman said by phone after his team saw its record move to at 14-11-3 (31 points), good for a fourth-place tie in the CHL.

“It's tough to come up here and win, and we almost found a way to get a big win tonight. But we got a big point, and that's so important – especially when you're playing on the road.”

The Mavericks took a 1-0 second-period lead on a goal by John- Scott Dickson. The Mallards came back to tie it at 1-all heading into the third period on Mike Stinziani’s power-play goal.

Matt Boyd and Mike Hellyear scored two quick goals to give the Mallards a 3-1 lead, but the excitement was just beginning.

Ryan Jardine, on an assist from Dickson, cut the deficit to 3-2 with a goal at 13:43. Using an extra attacker, Smith tied the game with less than a second on the clock.

“We were all watching the net, and the clock, and it was apparent it was a goal,” Hillman said. “It went in about .04 – it was that close. Smitty came through big time at the end. Like I said earlier – I am just so proud of this team.

“They never gave up, and there were times Clemmer (rookie Mike Clemente) was brilliant in the net. He's getting better and better each game. He's really had a great season and he deserved a win tonight.

“But at least we're coming home with a point.”

After a scoreless 5-minute overtime period, Quad City's Obi Aduba scored in the shootout to make it 1-0. Sebastien Thinel then scored for the Mavericks in the third round, but the shootout had to go to sudden-death overtime with Preece eventually claiming the game-winner.

Jardine had a shot to again tie the score, but goalie Neil Conway stopped him to help the Mallards improve to 12-12-3.

“We're about to get on the bus for the ride back to Independence, we'll practice tomorrow morning then it's off to Wichita and Tulsa,” Hillman said, referring to games Friday and Saturday before returning home for a New Year’s Eve game against Tulsa. “It's so important to get a point tonight. Now, we have to try and find a way to get some more points this weekend.”

Clemente stopped 34 of 37 shots and stopped six straight shootout attempts before Preece scored, turning in the type of performance that Mavericks announcer Bob Rennison said “… deserves a steak dinner from his teammates.”