The Quad City Mallards played three games on the road in five days, only earning one point out of a possible six. They never led throughout the entire weekend.
On October 27 the Mallards faced the Missouri Mavericks. Former Mallard Parker Milner was in net for the Mavericks. Milner performed fantastically for the Mallards last season, and repeated his outstanding performance against his former team, allowing only two goals on 27 shots.
Brody Hoffman’s performance that night was not at Milner’s level. He allowed four goals on 25 shots. Hoffman is a rookie and it was just his third game as a pro. Hopefully these are growing pains for the netminder as he adjusts to the pro game. The defense in front of him did well, while the offense was getting the shots on net necessary to win but weren’t completing the plays.
The Mallards then traveled from Missouri to Norfolk to face the Admirals on October 30. This time they faced another former Mallards netminder, Ty Rimmer. Both teams posted a lot of shots on net (39 for the Mallards versus 40 for the Admirals). Steve Michalek and Rimmer both did really well and each only allowed two goals. The Mallards did not score a goal until just over five minutes left in the game. They rallied to tie it at two on goals by Olivier Archambault and Guillaume Gelinas. The game went all the way to the shootout before it was decided. Alexis Loiseau scored the game-winner in the shootout for the Admirals.
Gelinas has been a bright spot for the Mallards. He has six points in eight games with the Mallards, which is fairly impressive for a defenseman. At times he has bolstered an otherwise struggling offense.
The final game of the trip the Mallards played the Wheeling Nailers on Halloween. The Mallards blue-line seemed lackadaisical throughout the entire game and the offense was hardly better. The Nailers outshot the Mallards 38-24. Derek Army had nine shots on goal by himself for the Nailers. Despite the high shot total, Brody Hoffman was more on his game and only allowed two goals. Matt Neal was the only Mallards’ player able to beat Nailers goalie Brian Foster.
Coach Terry Ruskowski has said several times that he is ready to begin changing the roster, cutting or trading players who are not playing the systems or are not working hard enough. Much as last season, the Mallards are struggling with putting out consistent effort. One period the team may do well, but the rest of the game they are out-skated, out-shot, and outplayed. Overall, the second Mallards road trip was disappointing to both the fans and Coach Ruskowski.
The Mallards enter November with a 3-3-0-2 record. Nine of the 13 games this month are at home, including the two games versus the Mavericks on Wednesday and the Wichita Thunder on Friday.
Anna Headley contributed to this article.