The playoffs were in full swing by the time the Mavericks took on the Rapid City Rush, Friday night in South Dakota. The Mavericks needed to win this first playoff game against the Rush to gain momentum heading into the next few games. Unfortunately, the Mavericks failed to win because of some great goal-tending by, Rush goalie, Tim Boron. At the end of the game the final score was 3-0 in a win for the Rush.
“It is a seven-game series,” said Mavericks’ Head Coach Scott Hillman. “We do not panic, but we must heighten the sense of urgency. We missed an opportunity to win Game One. It was a very even hockey game. We had our chances and did not bury the puck. Credit to Rapid City, they capitalized on two big mistakes and found the back of the net.”
All three periods only featured one goal and all three goals were scored by the Rush. The first goal came 12:41 into the period when Winston Day Chief scored after a great set-up feed from Jared Brown. The second Rush goal with just a 1:32 left in the second period. This goal was scored by Don Gendur after he sent the puck sailing passed Mike Clemente’s right arm into the net. The goal couldn’t have happened without help from Jared Brown and Jesse Schultz. They both were able to make good passes setting up the goal. With a 2-0 lead and just two minutes left to play, the Mavericks pulled Mike Clemente. The Mavericks offense was only able to keep the puck into the Rush zone for a couple minutes and with just 17 seconds left in the game, Scotty Wray was able to score from center-ice into the empty goal capping the game off for the Rush.
A 3-0 score is not a bad first game and looking back at the game, the Mavericks defense did not play poorly, the Mavericks offense did not play poorly and Mavericks goalie, Mike Clemente did not play poorly. One key factor to this loss was the poor special-teams play that was unable to capitalize even though they had five power-play opportunities. The special-teams play for this year’s Mavericks had been mediocre in the regular-season ranking sixth at the end of the season. Still, the Mavericks had continued troubles throughout the regular-season and in the first game of the playoffs. The power-play unit needs fixing or else the team will be shutdown repeatedly. The final factor to the first game loss was the amazing and unstoppable play by Tim Boron. Boron stopped all 31 Mavericks shots, some that were relatively close to going in, and lead his team to victory. After a tough loss like this, the Mavericks will have to forget about this game and rebound with a win tomorrow night in Rapid City.
After the Saturday’s game, the Mavs will return home to play the Rush: Wednesday, Friday and possibly Saturday at the IEC. The Mavericks need to win the next four games against the Rush or their chances of advancing will slowly diminish since they will need to travel back to South Dakota if they fail to win any of the next four games. This series between the Rush and the Mavs is definitely gearing towards being intense and should prove to offer some hard-fought wins by both teams.