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Mavericks go toe to toe with the best, but lose in a shootout

The Mavericks were leading the Tulsa Oilers by a single point in the standings for the final playoff spot in the Northern Conference coming into Friday night's game against quite possibly the best team in the CHL, the Odessa Jackalopes.  Odessa is in town for two games this weekend, and after that the Mavericks schedule doesn't get much easier.  After this weekend, the Mavs last three games are all on the road against three tough opponents.  The Mavs will travel to Wichita to play a much improved Thunder team, then onto Allen who currently sits in the number two position in the South, and finally the Mavs will wrap up their inaugural season against Bossier-Shreveport who have already clinched a playoff spot in the North.  Needless to say, the Mavs will need to play solid hockey for the final five games of the season if they want to hold onto that highly coveted final playoff spot.

The first period of play was highlighted with fights, hard hits, and many post-whistle scrums.  Karl Sellan dropped the gloves on two different occasions, once with Odessa forward Troy Ofukany and the other with Odessa defenseman Garrett Gruenke.  Both teams played with their heads on swivels as the bodies were flying.  The only tally of the period would come off a Mavericks' mistake.  Mavs goalie Charlie Effinger would handle a puck that was dumped into the Mavs defensive zone by the Jackalopes.  Effinger could not decide which corner to dump the puck off to and the Jackalopes pounced.  Odessa forced a turnover, deep in the Mavs zone, which lead to Odessa forward Sebastien Thinel feeding teammate Jeff Pierce who lifted the puck over the should of Effinger at the 12:43 mark on the opening session.  Odessa would take that 1-0 lead into the first intermission.

The Mavericks would come storming back in the second period.  Odessa would help the cause by taking two penalties within 30 seconds of each other.  The Mavs would make the 5 on 3 advantage hurt, when Mike Burgoyne notched his ninth goal of the season at the 5:43 mark.  The Mavs would carry the momentum from the first goal and really domniate the rest of the period.  Mavs forward Brett Hammond would take a pass from Blake Forsyth and streak into the Odessa zone.  Just as Hammond attempted to center the puck, Gruenke would slide in front of him cutting off the passing lane.  Hammond would improvise and flip an alleyoop type pass towards Jackalopes goalie Joel Martin.  The pass would hit off Jeff MacDermid's chest and land at his skates.  MacDermid would stuff in the loose puck for his 21st goal of the season, and put the Mavs up 2-1. 

The two teams would go back and forth throughout the whole third period.  Odessa would tie the game at the 3:13 mark when Philippe Plante beat Effinger.  Odessa would keep the pressure up and eventually regain the lead when Sebastien Thinel would stuff home a rebound with only eight minutes to play.  Mike Burgoyne would tally his second goal of the game to tie the game only a few minutes later on a tough angled shot that appeared to even surprise Burgoyne that it went in the net.  Nick Sirota and Jeff Christian would get the assists on the goal. 

The rest of the third period and overtime would remain scoreless, taking the game into a shootout.  Jeff MacDermid, Jordan Foreman, and Karl Sellan would all net goals for the Mavericks in the shootout, but they would be matched by Thinel, Colin Circelli, and Plante from Odessa.  Jeff Pierce would then score to put Odessa up by one in the shootout, leaving the hopes of the Mavericks on they player would carried them all night, Mike Burgoyne.  Burgoyne was unable to beat Martin, and Odessa would take the victory.

"That close," Mavs coach Scott Hillman said after the game.  "The one point was big, especially playing the best team in the league.  We're real proud of the guys."

Game Notes:

- Burgoyne was awarded the 1st Star of the Game, Thinel the 2nd Star, and Pierce the 3rd Star

- With the one point, and the Tulsa loss, the Mavs are now a full win up on the Oilers

- Mavs defenseman Jared Lavender is hoping to be back by the middle of next week from injury

- During the week, the Mavs waived defenseman Bret Tyler and goalie Mike Gorman

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