MOLINE, IL – It was a tale of Jekyll and Hyde for the Quad City Mallards on Sunday when they took on the Fort Wayne Komets. The team that left the ice for the first intermission was far different than the one that returned for the start of the second period. Three unanswered goals in the third period spelled doom for the Mallards in what would be a 4-3 loss for the Illinois-based team.
The Mallards took an early two-goal lead just under three and half minutes into the first period, Gergo Nagy getting credit with the first goal. The puck bounced off of Ryan Lowney’s shin pad, bouncing uncontrollably towards the net. Neither Lowney nor Jason Binkley was able to corral the puck before it slid past Garrett Bartus. A minute later Matt Pohlkamp added to the Mallards’ lead with help from Jake Bolton and Triston Grant. Pohlkamp shot from the right circle, deflecting the puck ever so slightly up off Bartus’ left pad to send the puck careening into the net.
Halfway through the game, Grant began his night-long parade to the penalty box, earning a double minor for roughing after a faceoff at center ice. Grant had just returned from a five-game suspension for incidents during the Mallards’ game in Indy on February 22. Bobby Shea was Grant’s combatant, each only getting a shot in before the officials separated them. Shea then scored the first goal for the Komets with just under two minutes remaining in the first period, going top shelf from the left circle. Ivan Kulbakov was diving to make the save but was unable to stop the shot.
The Mallards had looked good up until that point, appearing to be the team in control for much of the first period. The Mallards outshot the Komets 13-7 and out-scored them 2-1.
Jamie Tardif scored the third goal for the Mallards 10:30 into the second period, deflecting Ryan McGrath’s shot from the blue line while just past the mouth of the crease. Five minutes later, it appeared that the Komets had brought themselves within one goal when Dennis Kravchenko went on a breakaway, but the goal was disallowed due to goaltender interference. Komets head coach Gary Graham was not happy with the call, earning himself a two-minute penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The Komets, and Kravchenko, really would end up being within a goal five minutes into the final frame, however.
Kravchenko buried the puck behind Kulbakov with a one-timer that traveled too fast from left to right for Kulbakov to track. Two minutes later, Gabriel Desjardins made his way onto the scoresheet with the tying goal, capitalizing on a beautiful set up between him and Shea. The game-winning goal trickled five-hole on Kulbakov after a breakaway by Garrett Thompson, who had slid face-first into an upright late in the second period after Pohlkamp tripped him.
Off the ensuing faceoff, Grant earned his final penalty of the night by knocking out Justin MacDonald. Grant continued attempting to punch MacDonald after the two were already on the ice with the officials on top of them in hopes of breaking it up. MacDonald was taken to the locker room after the encounter and Grant was tossed after getting a match penalty for fighting. It’s very possible Grant will hear from the league’s discipline czar on that incident.
The Mallards will travel to Wichita for a Wednesday game this week before heading to Toledo for a pair of weekend games against the Walleye. Puck drop is set for 7 pm CST on Wednesday and 6:15 pm CST on Friday and Saturday.
The Mallards will return home for a Wednesday game of their own on March 14, when they will take on the Walleye.
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