I’ve already covered a number of the themes of this season such as inconsistent play and tons of roster turnover. So I’m not going to go back into those things. A number of fans have said how this was one of the most frustrating seasons they can recall. This is because this was the most talented Mallards team in quite some time. I think the frustration exists because expectations have been raised. This is a good thing.
This team had some high-highs and some low-lows. Here are a few highlights from this roller coaster of a season:
Best Win: Thunder (2) at Mallards (6) on 2/7/2015. The Thunder had just beat the Mallards 2-1 the night before on the same ice in an extremely chippy game that featured roughing, elbowing and cross-checking penalties. The Mallards completely dominated this game, creating great scoring chances almost at will in the last two periods. They only needed 20 shots in the last 40 minutes to score 6 goals, which shows the quality of the chances they were creating. The bad blood from the night before also spilled into this game, resulting in 136 PIM between the two teams and adding more excitement to the game. The Mallards took advantage of the penalties, going 2 for 4 on the power play and holding the Thunder to 0 for 3 on theirs. Parker Milner stopped 26 of 28 shots in the win.
Worst Loss: Oilers (2) at Mallards (0) on 3/4/2015. The Mallards did outshoot the Oilers 31-28 in this game, but that is very misleading. The Mallards offense simply did not create many good chances at all. This spoiled a pretty good game by Evan Mosher. The overall team effort was so bad that Coach Ruskowski made the team stay on the ice and bag skate after the game. I wrote a bit about how unusual that was here.
Most Mallard-Like Win: Mallards (7) at Komets (5) on 12/29/2014. For this article’s purposes, a “Mallard-like” game is a game where they alternated stretches of great play with terrible play. No win was more like this than the game at Fort Wayne on 12/29. At the time, the Komets had the best record in the ECHL. This was the Mallards 3rd game outside the Central division, and they had lost the other two to the Cincinnati Cyclones. I don’t think anyone expected the Mallards to get this road win, but they somehow did it. The Mallards took an early 2-0 lead on goals by Pearce Eviston and Todd Fiddler. Then the wheels came completely off and the Komets scored 4 straight goals over the next 9 minutes. Mosher only had an EBUG backing him in this one, so he had to try to regain his composure and play through it. Somehow, the Mallards got back on track. The Mallards played their best hockey probably of the whole season over the last 2 periods, outscoring the Komets 5-1 the rest of the way to earn a 7-5 win.
Most Mallard-Like Loss: Beast (6) at Mallards (5) on 4/1/2015. This game versus the Beast is the mirror image of the one above. Instead of beating the top team in the league on the road, they lost to the worst team in the league at home. Things were looking good when the Mallards took a 3-1 lead early in the 2nd period on a goal by Kevin Baker. Then once again the wheels came off. The Beast scored 4 straight goals over the next 20 minutes to go up 5-3. Lamouruex scored to make it 5-4 with 12 minutes to play, then the Mallards immediately allowed another goal to go down 6-4. The Mallards quickly got it to 6-5 with 10 minutes left on a goal by Coldwell. The Mallards then dominated the final 10 minutes and had tons of scoring chances but were unable to tie it up.
- Six different Mallards earned AHL callups this year. They were Benjamin Dieude-Fauvel, Mosher, Nicholas Rioux, Joe Perry, Lamoureux, and Milner. Collectively these players appeared in 47 AHL games.
- Joe Perry even “graduated” to the AHL in a sense, when he signed a standard player contract with Iowa.
- Benjamin Dieude-Fauvel is playing for the French National Team at the Hockey World Championships right now.
- Parker Milner was named an ECHL All-Star alternate.
- Attendance continued its steady rise and the Mallards hired Bob Hoffman as Executive Vice-President.