Scott Hillman’s Missouri Mavericks have momentum on their side as they head into the first round of the CHL playoffs, playing host to Evansville at 7:05 p.m. tonight at the Independence Events Center.

Scott Hillman’s Missouri Mavericks have momentum on their side as they head into the first round of the CHL playoffs, playing host to Evansville at 7:05 p.m. tonight at the Independence Events Center.

“You certainly want to be playing your best hockey before you go into the playoffs,” said Hillman, whose team won the last four games of the regular season, “but more so than momentum, I see the first game as a new start for this team.

“We won a mini-playoff series our first year, and last year we won the first round of the playoffs, and this year, there are just two rounds (of playoffs) before you reach the championship series.

“So basically, we’re as far as we’ve ever been and we haven’t even played a game yet. The boys found out about playoff intensity this past weekend with that wild (5-4) win over Tulsa Saturday night at our place.

“The team is playing with a lot of confidence and we’re all eager to see what happens once the playoffs start.”

Because of scheduling conflicts, the series will start tonight at the Events Center, even though Evansville finished in second place in the Turner Conference and the Mavericks finished in third.

Both teams had 84 points, but the IceMen had one more regular-season win. The Mavericks were 3-2 – with an overtime loss and overtime win – against the IceMen this season.

“We need to play with confidence, but we also need to play with a sense of urgency,” Hillman said. “It’s so important to win the first game, because there are only two more home games after tomorrow night.”

The series will have a 1-2-1-1-1-1 format, with the second home game Monday night. Evansville will host the Mavericks Friday and Saturday nights.

“You want to avoid a situation where you have to win the series on the road,” the coach said. “If we win Wednesday and steal one this weekend, we’ll be very happy.”

GOOD BYE: Brad Good, who played 60 games for the Mavericks this season, has been declared an unrestricted free agent and is no longer a member of the club.

“It all came down to a numbers game,” Hillman said when asked about the roster move. “Brad did everything we asked him to do – and more. We hope to continue talks with him about next season.”

MAVS MAKE NOBLE MOVE: The Mavericks announced that they have signed amateur defenseman Kevin Noble to their postseason roster. Noble fills one of two allowable amateur spots on the Mavericks’ playoff roster.

“Kevin is a very solid puck-moving defenseman and will help us continue to add depth to our d-core for the playoffs,” Hillman said.

Noble, 24, played at Mercyhurst College and scored eight goals and added 43 assists in 139 games over the course of his four-year career.