The St. Charles Chill opened their preseason tonight against their in-state rivals, the Missouri Mavericks. The Chill used three goaltenders in a combined shutout effort over the Mavericks, 2-0.
Despite being out shot, 28-22, the Chill held the Mavericks off the scoreboard and potted two goals themselves. Matt Whitehead and Justin Levac scored the only two goals in the game and both goals were cause by crashing hard to the net.
On the first goal, Kyle O'Kane dished the puck of to Max Mobley who drove hard to the net with the puck. A quick shot slid behind Mavericks netminder, Joe Howe and Matt Whitehead jumped on the puck and buried it in the net to give the Chill a 1-0 lead.
Justin Levac gave the Chill a two-goal lead late in the first period. Mobley dished the puck off to defensemen Greg Brown who threw the puck on net and Howe kicked the puck back out in the slot. Levac skated through the scrum in front and pulled the puck to his back hand and roofed a quick shot that beat Howe on the glove side. The first period ended with Mathieu Corbeil, who was loaned to St. Charles from Utica of the American Hockey League, shutting the door on the Mavericks forward Kyle Hood.
Robby Moss replaced Corbeil in the second period and was dominant in net. He made stop after stop as the Mavericks picked up their offense. He made a gorgeous glove save towards the end of the second period which seemed to spark the Chill as they proceeded to pick up their defensive play after that. Blocking shot after shot to end the period.
The third period was highlighted by goaltender Kevin McFarland completing the shutout and Kyle O'Kane stepping outside of his comfort zone and dropping the mitts with Trevor Kell. Both combatants were throwing some heavy bombs. Kell got the better of O'Kane in the scrap, cutting O'Kane on the bridge of his nose.
McFarland followed up Moss by coming in stopping every shot he faced, completing a three goalie shutout.
Jamie Rivers was impressed with his team and his goaltenders in the teams first preseason game. "I was impressed with their effort, when you have blocking shots, sacrificing their bodies and doing you'd see in the playoffs and when you see that in a pre-season, its pretty incredible. You and build on systems but you cannot teach heart."
It wasn't just the forwards and defensemen who impressed coach Rivers in tonight's game, all three goalies played exceptionally well, shutting out the Mavericks offense. "These goalies played awesome. Corbeil shut the door in the first period on a couple big chances, Moss stood on his head during the second period and then McFarland shut the door in the end. These are the reasons I can see coaches going bald and gray very quick. It's fantastic for these guys who are playing great, but it sucks for me because we have some tough decisions ahead of us. Luckily for us, we don't have to make that decision tonight."
Robby Moss, a Chesterfield native, came in during the second period and absolutely shut the door against the Mavericks. Of the three goalies, he faced the highest quality of chances from the Mavericks offense and he didn't allow a single puck to get behind him. Moss was excited after the game, talking about getting back on the ice. "It felt good getting back on the ice. I had a good season last year and it helped prepare me for professional hockey this year. With training camp and skating this summer with Rivers, it's kind of propelled me into the situation I'm in now." Moss also spoke about coming in and trying to make the roster this season. "As a goalie fighting for his spot, it's difficult because there are only two spots open and there are always guys behind you trying to take your spot on the roster. The only thing I can keep doing is come to the rink everyday, show coach and show my teammates I'm doing the best that I can at all times."
Moss had his parents, two brothers, aunt and uncle, as well as some of his cousins watching in the stands tonight, the first time since he was a kid he was able to play in front of his family.
On the offensive side of the puck, there was one stand out who registered two assists on the games only two goals, and that's forward Max Mobley. The 5-foot-7, 170 pound forward from Glendale, Arizona was all of the ice tonight. He used his speed offensively and defensively. Whether it was streaking up the ice creating offense, or racing back to break up a play in the defensive zone, he was the player who really stood out as the game progressed. After the game, he talked about chances he got in the tonight's game.
"I got a lot of opportunities tonight, I was double shifted a couple of times and i was just trying to contribute anyway that I could. I was put with some good line-mates which made my job easy, but I was happy to contribute anyway that I could." Mobley was just an offensive stalwart and he described his style of play he contributes to the team. "I take a lot of pride in being a two-way forward. I want to be able to do whatever coach wants me to do. Heck I'd jump in net if coach asked me to, but I do take a lot of pride in my game." Mobely was happy with the crowd of just under 3,000 people, there wasn't a ton of people in the crowd, but you couldn't tell it with the noise level. The fans were excited and they showed it.
The St. Charles Chill will open their regular season against these same Mavericks next Saturday, October 19th at the Family Arena.