MOLINE, IL – The Quad City Mallards handed the Cincinnati Cyclones a decisive and impressive 6-2 loss Friday night. The first 40 minutes of the game the Mallards dominated play, outshooting the Cyclones 29-14 through the first two periods. The visiting team was held to only two shots on goal in the opening frame, while the Mallards scored twice within that period.
Kyle Follmer opened the scoring only 72 seconds after the opening face-off, Matt Neal assisting. This was Follmer’s fourth goal of the season, having scored twice in Tuesday’s game in Wichita, including the game-winning goal in the shootout.
Guillaume Gelinas took a shot on goal at 8:45 of the first period, Andy Iles making the save with his blocker. However, the puck bounced off the blocker and into the air before deflecting off the goalpost and into the net. Brady Brassart assisted on Gelinas’ goal before scoring his own before the halfway mark of the second period. Mike Monfredo and Sam Warning assisted on Brassart’s goal.
With just over four minutes left in the second period Warning extended the Mallards’ lead to 4-0 with help from Miles Koules. This would be the goal that prevented Iles returning to the net following the second intermission.
New Mallard Cody Beach was sent to the penalty box with 13 seconds remaining in the second period on a goalie interference call. It was during this Cyclones powerplay that Nick Huard put the Cyclones on the board at 1:23 of the final frame.
Follmer struck again with help from Neal and Darren McMillan to restore the Mallards’ four goal lead. Through no fault of his own, Follmer would sit two minutes in the penalty box after Beach earned five minutes for fighting, two minutes for roughing, and two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct against Seth Ambroz. Follmer served the two minute unsportsmanlike penalty.
Branden Gracel gave the Cyclones a faint glimmer of hope when he found twine behind Brody Hoffman with less than four minutes remaining in the game, but that glimmer was quickly extinguished. Warning scored unassisted at 18:26, the puck just making its way behind the crossbar to touch netting before bouncing back out. Play continued for a second before the goal horn sounded and the players noticed the referee indicating the goal.
The Mallards team which played tonight was a far different team than had played two weeks ago. With the return of Zach Pochiro and the assignments of Beach and Jared Knight, the Mallards no longer appeared timid or averse to injury. The passes of the Mallards were crisp and found their targets. The players appeared to expect their teammates to be in position to receive the puck, often making quick passes between more than one player. The team showed on-ice chemistry that had not been seen in over a month.
Hoffman made 24 saves, while Iles made 25 and Brandon Whitney made four in his relief effort.
With the win and a Colorado loss, the Mallards moved into eighth in the western conference (24-21-3-2; 53 pts), while the Cincinnati Cyclones still sit in seventh place (25-20-3-2; 55 pts).
The Mallards will face off against the Cyclones again tonight at 7:05 for Chick-Fil-A Night. Fans who purchase tickets at the box office for that night’s game will receive a free Chick-Fil-A sandwich coupon. Fans will also have the chance to win Chick-Fil-A items and meet the Chick-Fil-A cow.
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