The Quad City Mallards came into the game Tuesday night looking for their second consecutive road win, after having lost their previous seven road contests. The Wichita Thunder came into this game looking to end a seven game winless streak. Their most recent setback was an overtime loss to the Tulsa Oilers on Sunday.
This game proved to be a battle of goaltenders. Brody Hoffman stopped 33 of 34 shots for the Mallards. On the other side, Grant Rollheiser stopped 41 of 42 shots. Rollheiser was tested more often, and made a handful of saves in close one-on-one situations.
Dean Chelios opened the scoring early in the game for the Thunder. He beat Hoffman on a close shot at the 6:10 mark. Donnie Harris assisted on the goal. This was only the third shot of the game for the Thunder. About six and one-half minutes later, Kyle Follmer evened the score at 1-1 on the Mallards’ third shot of the game. Matt Neal set up Follmer with a pass across the crease leaving the net wide open for Follmer to shoot. Vladimir Nikiforov had the secondary assist. At this point, this game did not look like it would end up being such a defensive battle.
Also in the first period, there was a fight between Raphael Bussieres and Dan Milan. The fight ensued after a collision that left a Mallards player slow to get up. Bussieres landed several good blows but Milan got the takedown. Other than this, the game was very cleanly played by both teams. The Thunder were called for three penalties and the Mallards for one.
The second period the Mallards had several great scoring chances but Rollheiser was excellent. This was probably the best period the Mallards played in the game. The Mallards dominated the first fifteen minutes of the second period, outshooting the Thunder 14-5. Then, the Thunder took control for the next fifteen minutes. They outshot the Mallards 14-2 over that stretch.
Halfway through the third, Kyle Follmer was called for holding, setting up the Thunder’s only power play of the game. The Mallards killed the penalty and got some offensive pressure going in the minutes following that penalty kill. The game ended with a flurry of shots as the puck was loose right in front of the crease, but Rollheiser made three saves in the final seconds to preserve the tie.
The three-on-three overtime was exciting as both teams had good chances to win the game. Not showing on the scoresheet is a backhand shot by Austin Coldwell that hit the post. The game ended up going to the shootout. In the first round, Matt Carey scored for the Mallards. Andrew Huff matched him in the first round with a goal. No one would score again until the fourth round when Follmer beat Rollheiser for the second time on the night. Dean Chelios had a chance to match Follmer in the fourth round but Hoffman made the save to end the game.
Next, the Mallards travel back to the i wireless Center to face the Cincinnati Cyclones at the i wireless Center on Friday and Saturday for a couple important games. The Mallards trail the Cyclones by four standings points and have played an equal number of games.
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