In his wildest dreams, Missouri coach Scott Hillman didn’t see a 7-1 victory coming Friday night at Evansville. The Mavericks scored three goals in the first period and four in the third to set a single-game franchise playoff scoring record and take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series with the IceMen.

In his wildest dreams, Missouri coach Scott Hillman didn’t see a 7-1 victory coming Friday night at Evansville. The Mavericks scored three goals in the first period and four in the third to set a single-game franchise playoff scoring record and take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series with the IceMen.

“Evansville is such a strong team, you know they will come out more determined than ever Saturday night,” Hillman said by phone after the game.

The Mavericks and IceMen square off in Game 3 at 7:15 p.m. Saturday in the Ford Center.

“In this game, it doesn’t matter if you win by one or 30, a win’s a win and we’re up 2-0. Now, we have to do everything we can to keep them from getting back into this series.”

Brandon Coccimiglio scored just 1:44 into the first period on an unassisted goal to give a large contingent of Mavericks fans at the Ford Center something to cheer about.

“Brandon Coccimiglio did everything right to score that goal,” Hillman said. “He put pressure on the floor check to get the puck and he put it in the back of the net. That was a great way to start the game.”
Coccimiglio said it all began Friday night in the locker room.

“Coach talked about floor checking, and I was able to pressure a guy right away, get the puck and score,” Coccimiglio said as he boarded the team bus for a post-game meal. “Now, we have to forget about the first two games and work even harder tomorrow night so we can try to come home with a 3-0 lead.

“We know how hard they’re going to come at us Saturday, but we’re going to be ready for anything they throw at us.”

When asked about the number of Mavericks fans in attendance, many of whom had seats behind the Missouri bench, Hillman said, “We’d look in the stands and there weren’t just a handful. A lot of our fans made the seven-hour drive and we want them to know how much we appreciate their effort on a week night.

“We’re pleased we could give them something to cheer about.”

Kris Hogg followed Coccimiglio’s goal with the first of three power-play goals at 12:13, off assists from Sebastien Thinel and Andrew Courtney to give Missouri a 2-0 lead. Patrick Schafer made it 3-0 with just more than two minutes left in the period to give Missouri its biggest lead in any playoff game this season.

After a scoreless second period, Dale Mahovsky netted the Mavs’ fourth goal of the game on a breakaway four minutes into the third period. Sebastien Thinel collected his second assist of the night on the score.

CHL scoring leader Todd Robinson got Evansville on the board with 9:30 to go in regulation on a short-handed goal, but the Mavericks got three unanswered goals from Ed McGrane, Matt McCready and Brandon Smith – who each scored on power plays – to secure the win. BJ O’Brien relieved Charlie Effinger with three minutes remaining in regulation, but did not face any shots.

“Charlie did his job and there was no reason to keep him out there any longer,” said Hillman, who took Effinger out of the net after Evansville’s Mike Sgroi was called for goaltender interference.

“Going up 2-0, with a win in their building is really important,” Effinger said. “Their backs are to the wall, so you know they’re going to play even harder tomorrow night. We have to stay focused and get the job done because it would be huge to come back to the Events Center with a 3-0 lead. But it’s going to take a great effort to win another game in their place – you know they’re going to do everything they can to keep that from happening.”

Defenseman Tristin Llewellyn recorded three assists in the victory and Thinel and Hogg turned in two-point performances. Effinger stopped 28 of 29 Evansville shots and was credited with the victory.