FORT WAYNE, IN– In 1980, the US Men’s Ice Hockey team beating Russia was considered a miracle. Thirty-seven years to the day later, the Quad City Mallards beating the Fort Wayne Komets is considered just as much a miracle. After all, the Mallards were 2-6 against the Komets this season before Wednesday. And like all miracles, Wednesday’s bout wasn’t an easy victory.
Kyle Thomas, who has been a thorn in the Mallards’ side since he was cut from QC’s roster early in the 2014-15 season, is currently playing for the Cleveland Monsters of the AHL. Alex Petan is also in Cleveland after signing a PTO with the team on Valentines’ Day. Both players have now notched their first AHL goals, both against the Iowa Wild, as Thomas scored on Sunday and Petan on Monday.
Josh MacDonald opened the scoring with just 66 seconds left in the first period. Alexander Kuqali and Jack Nevins assisted this tally; this was Kuqali’s first point as a Mallard after being acquired from the Florida Everblades on January 31. A little over three minutes later MacDonald scored again, this time from Sam Warning and Adam Gilmour. This was Gilmour’s first appearance in a Mallards sweater after being assigned by the Iowa Wild on Tuesday.
Eight minutes later, Brett Perlini put the Komets on the board.Gabriel Desjardines and Kyle Follmer made their ways onto the scoresheet with the assists on that tally. Follmer then scored to tie the game at the eight minutes and 20 seconds mark of the final frame, Trevor Cheek and Garrett Thompson assisting.
Overtime wasn’t enough to decide the outcome of the game, and a shootout was required. Grant Arnold was the only one to score in the shootout, five rounds being necessary to decide the winner.
Another miracle on the night was the lack of penalties. Normally the two rivals spend a great deal of time in the penalty boxes when facing each other, but on Wednesday only two penalties were called. Andrew Panzarella earned two minutes for roughing early in the second period, while Shawn Szydlowski sat for two minutes for tripping just seven seconds into the overtime period.
After Wednesday’s victory, the Mallards now sit only five points behind Fort Wayne, though still in second place.
The Mallards return home on Friday to face the Kalamazoo Wings at 7 CST.