MOLINE, IL – The Quad City Mallards returned to home-ice for the first time since November 24 looking to end a five-game losing streak. The Mallards did earn a point, however, as the game went into overtime before ending just under three minutes into the extra hockey. There were five combined goals scored in the middle frame alone, which would be the winning number for the night.
Sam Warning had a great scoring chance in the opening minute of the game, almost beating Garrett Bartus on the left-hand side as he went from right to left. Warning was unlucky, however, and was unable to capitalize on his chance. Kyle Bigos scored his first goal of the season at 7:37, sniping it in past Bartus on the left from just inside the blue-line. Bigos’ goal was assisted by Greg Amlong and Matt Pohlkamp, the only goal of the opening period.
Just under three minutes into the middle frame, the Mallards scored a goal that wasn’t. There was a rather chaotic scrum in front of the net, several players battling just past the blue paint with Bartus on his back, when the puck went across the goal line and into the twine somehow before bouncing immediately back out. The referee waived the goal off immediately as play continued, the scrum not breaking up for another moment or two before heading to the left of the crease. Mason Baptista then evened the score shortly after when the puck slid five-hole past newly acquired Matt O’Connor. Baptista was along the goal line to O’Connor’s left when he shot the puck, Garrett Thompson and Jason Binkley picking up the apples on that tally. Baptista’s goal came seven seconds after the Komets entered a power-play, as Jamie Tardif was called for tripping. That was the Mallards’ only penalty of the contest.
Triston Grant, in his Mallards debut, scored his first goal of the season to put the Mallards back on top from the low slot. Josh MacDonald and Jacob Graves assisted on that tally, and it was not the last time that either would appear on the score sheet. In fact, Graves assisted on the next goal for the Mallards. At 12:41, Ryan McGrath deflected a shot from the left top corner of the crease that came from Warning that came from the left side along the goal line. The Komets then went on to score twice in the last five minutes of the second period.
Thompson scored a goal of his own a few short minutes after McGrath’s tally after there was a bit of a scrum in front of O’Connor. Thompson’s skate scored the goal, Ryan Culkin and Ryan Lowney earning the assists. McGrath gave a solid hit to Daniel Maggio, who wasn’t a fan of being taken into the boards. The two started jawing at each other, and Alex Globke came over to investigate. For that, Globke was punched in the face by Maggio and attempted to drop the gloves. The officials broke up the fight before it could begin, however, and Maggio served two minutes for roughing. Just after being short-handed, Louick Marcotte deflected a shot by Logan Nelson for his fourth goal of the season. Nelson passed the puck backwards to Marcotte as the former was jumping in the air; Binkley had his second assist of the night on the goal.
MacDonald gave the Mallards the lead at 9:10 of the final frame, Brayden Low and Amlong assisting on the man-advantage tally, but 44 seconds later Artur Tyanulin made the score even again. Lowney joined Binkley in having a two-assist night by giving Tyanulin the puck. MacDonald’s goal was caused by a bad clearing attempt by a Komet player. The opposing player tried to clear the puck from the goal-mouth but instead passed it directly to the waiting MacDonald at the top left corner of the crease.
Seventy-five seconds into the overtime period MacDonald had a break-away, but his shot went just a hair too wide on the left to bounce off the post. Ninety seconds later Jamie Schaafsma rang his shot off the post and into the net with help from Tyanulin.
Overall, the Mallards did better on Wednesday than in recent games. The physicality that has been lacking was more apparent, which is a step forward. The second period was the most difficult for the Mallards, because even though they scored twice, they gave up a 3-1 lead. At the end of the night, the shots were 47-31 in Fort Wayne’s favor. The Mallards only had nine shots on goal in the sandwich stanza for the Komets’ 22, which doesn’t bode well for chances of winning.
The Mallards will take on the Cincinnati Cyclones on Friday at 7:05 pm, then travel to Fort Wayne for a Saturday game before the Christmas break.