Missouri Mavericks head home after tough loss in game five of playoff series

When the Missouri Mavericks set their goals at the beginning of the season, one of the big ones was getting home-ice advantage in the Central Hockey League playoffs. They achieved that while winning a franchise-best 44 games during the regular season.

Now that the Mavericks trail the Arizona Sundogs 3-2 in the best-of-seven opening round series, their hard work pays off because they will be playing host to game six — and seven, if necessary. The next matchup is Tuesday night at 7:05 at the Independence Events Center.

“You play all year for home-ice advantage and that is essentially what we have,” Mavericks coach Scott Hillman said. “We have to win two home games in order to win this series, so we go home and start fighting and take care of home ice.”

The top-seeded Mavericks won the first game of the series, but dropped three of the next four to the eighth-seeded Sundogs, including a 4-3 loss in double overtime on Saturday night in Prescott Valley, Ariz.

One bright spot in the loss was Pete Massar, who was signed prior to the game. He scored two goals in the third period that gave the Mavericks a 3-2 lead.

“He was a tremendous addition to the hockey club,” Hillman said. “We were shorthanded big-time and he came in and had a great game for us.”

The Mavericks gave up an equalizer with 30 seconds left Saturday, and then the Sundogs scored again in the second overtime.