EVANSVILLE, IN – The Quad City Mallards hit the road for the middle game of their weekend three-in-three. Terry Ruskowski’s squad has won two consecutive games and looked to push it to three with a win Saturday night.
Over 8,200 fans were on hand at the Ford Center for Star Wars Night. They got to see the Icemen outshoot the Mallards 14-8 in the first period, but it was the Mallards who led 1-0 at the first intermission. The Mallards got a power play goal when Ryan Tesink redirected a shot by Miles Koules at the 13:36 mark of the first period.
At 6:16 of the second period Mike Monfedo was called for roughing. The Icemen tied the game 1-1 on the ensuing power play on a goal by Danny Hobbs. Things were just getting started in the second period though. There were two fights and a total of 40 penalty minutes between the two teams in the period.
Just 31 seconds after the goal, Alex Gudbranson and Michael Trebish had a fight. It was fairly even though Gudbranson did get the takedown. With the period just over the halfway point, Matt Neal was called for slashing and also got a 10 minute misconduct for arguing the call. The Mallards would kill that penalty. At the 14:19 mark, Anthony Collins and Spencer Humphries put on the foil. This was was similar to the first one, with both players landing some shots but Humphries getting the takedown. Chris Rumble was called for elbowing with just over two minutes to play in the period but the Mallards were unable to score on the power play.
With the game on the line the two teams played a much more disciplined third period. The only penalty was a roughing call on Trebish five minutes into the period. Both teams had a number of good scoring chances. The Icemen had Mallards goaltender Brody Hoffman sprawling on a couple occasions but he made some spectacular saves. He also seemed to do a better job of allowing fewer rebounds than in previous games. Likewise, Icemen goalie Cody Reichard was very sharp, thwarting several good scoring chances by the Mallards.
Kevin Henderson finally broke the tie with just 2:51 left in the game. Gudbranson took a shot from near the blue line and Henderson jammed the rebound past Reichard. It had to feel good for Henderson who has had a tough season. It was just his second goal and only his ninth game this year due to injuries.
Reichard was pulled for an extra attacker in the final minutes but the Mallards were able to hold on for the 2-1 win.
Next the Mallards play the Kalamazoo Wings at 4 this afternoon. This will be a tough game for the Mallards. In a scheduling quirk, the Wings played the Mallards on Friday in the Quad Cities and were idle Saturday. So the Wings have been in the Quad Cities waiting for the Mallards to return from Evansville for Sunday’s game.