MOLINE, IL – The Quad City Mallards were less than super on Marvel Superhero Night, allowing a whopping eight goals on 47 shots. The Mallards donned Captain America sweaters, while the visiting Kalamazoo Wings wore white sweaters with Iron Man’s face upon them. Though it was an uproarious crowd, that energy didn’t transfer to the Mallards the same way.
The Wings took a respectable 3-1 lead into the first intermission, something the Mallards could overcome with a bit of good fortune and solid play. The first goal of the game was a head-scratcher, as the puck deflected in and got lodged behind the crossbar. Everyone had lost sight of the puck for a few seconds until finally an official found it still hanging in the twine and signaled a goal. Justin Taylor was credited with the tally, Mackenze Stewart and Kyle Blaney picking up the apples. Ben Wilson then rang a shot off the posts, the puck crossing the goal line before hitting the iron. Wilson had skated from right to left across along the point, the puck ringing in the opposite direction.
Tyler Heinonen then sniped the puck over Jake Paterson’s left shoulder from the right dot, Josh Pitt and Stewart making their ways onto the scoresheet with the assists. Keegan Kolesar, who was reassigned from the Chicago Wolves on Thursday, got the puck at the far edge of the left circle before deking around two defenders. The puck kissed twine with help from Sam Warning and Jake Bolton.
The Mallards appeared to dominate for much of the second period, and even the first period was not a bad frame. The Mallards were finishing their checks, adding much-needed physicality to their game. The defense was superb for the second period, as was Paterson, who faced 21 shots. The last shot of the second period, right as the buzzer sounded for the bathroom break, found twine behind Paterson, however. The puck came in from the goal line, bouncing off of Paterson and into the net. Jimmy Mullin scored that goal, which drew ire from fans and Mallards players alike.
In the third period, things went downhill for the Mallards rather quickly. Just over a minute into the frame, Mullin added to the Kalamazoo lead with help from Pitt and Heinonen. A few minutes later Kolesar notched his second of the night, but it was not enough to start a comeback for the Flock. Kolesar shot the puck point blank from the left corner of the crease, beating Michael Garteig over the foot with the puck as the goaltender lay sprawled on the ice. Over the next 13 minutes the visiting team would send three more goals past Paterson, amounting to an eight goal total. Stewart added two goals of his own, while Taylor had the final tally. Garteig made 29 saves on 31 shots for Paterson’s 39 saves on 47 shots.
The two teams will face off again in Kalamazoo on Saturday, the opening face-off set for 6 CST. The Mallards will then have to bus quickly back to the Quad Cities, as they play an afternoon game against the Cincinnati Cyclones at 4:05 CST Sunday.