Tight lipped, disappointed and wondering what they might have done differently to avoid a 2-1 loss to the host Wichita Thunder in the opening round of the Central Hockey League playoffs, members of the Missouri Mavericks filed out of the visiting locker room one by one, and headed to the team bus.

Tight lipped, disappointed and wondering what they might have done differently to avoid a 2-1 loss to the host Wichita Thunder in the opening round of the Central Hockey League playoffs, members of the Missouri Mavericks filed out of the visiting locker room one by one, and headed to the team bus.

“This one hurts,” forward Derek Pallardy said Wednesday night. “It’s so important that we don’t get down and let this game, this loss, affect the way we come out and play Friday night at home.”

The best-of-five series moves to the Independence Events Center for 7:05 p.m. games Friday and Saturday nights.

“Teams don’t win many games on the road in the playoffs,” Mavericks coach Scott Hillman said, “and it was not an ideal situation to start here in Wichita.

“That’s why we fight so hard during the 66-game regular season to get home ice. We have to use our home ice Friday night like Wichita used it tonight.”

Wichita took a 1-0 lead at the 17:37 mark of the first period when Troy Schwab slipped the puck past Mavericks goaltender Robby Nolan.

“I was screened,” Nolan said, “I didn’t see it, but that’s no excuse. It’s a play I’d like to have back.”

Newcomer Brandon Coccimiglio, who has been one of the team’s top offensive players the past two weeks, knotted the score at 1-1 when he scored at 16:34 of the opening period off assists from Ryan Jardine and Ray DiLauro.

The game winner came just :54 into the second period when Matt Robinson scored on a power-play goal.

“It’s the playoffs, and you just want to take as many shots as you can and hope one finds the back of the net,” Robinson said. “You could tell there were some jitters in the first period, but after that, both teams settled down.”

The Mavericks had many opportunities to tie the game, and even take the lead, but as many as six shots hit off the post and Thunder goaltender Marc-Antoine Gelinas rose to the occasion time and time again.

“Their goalie was amazing tonight,” Nolan said. “We had some chances and he was great, really great tonight. But the boys worked their (rear ends) off, and we have to work even harder Friday night.

“We’re excited about coming home Friday. We have the sixth man – our fans – and we’re going to need them Friday.

“We can’t go down 0-2 in the series. We need a win Friday, and we’ll find a way to get it.”

Some confusion at the end of the game cost the Mavericks a chance to have a 6-on-4 advantage when they were called for a minor bench penalty because of too many men on the ice.

Nolan was coming off the ice for a sixth attacker, with Wichita’s Lance Galbraith in the penalty box following a roughing call.

But the minor bench penalty wiped out the two-man advantage.

“Someone wasn’t paying attention, and it cost us,” Hillman said. “You can’t make mistakes like that, especially on the road in the playoffs.”