MOLINE, IL – The Fort Wayne Komets walk into the TaxSlayer Center, score a few goals, and leave with two points. Not much is new for the Quad City Mallards, as they fell 5-0 to the Komets to make their losing streak an even ten games. The first 35 minutes were scoreless, but five goals were scored within a 15-minute span to give Fort Wayne the victory.
Through the first period, the two teams appeared evenly matched for the most part, the shots on goal relatively close at 17-14. The Mallards had a good penalty kill while Tristan King was seated in the penalty box for hooking, but later special teams would not fare as well as the first kill. Though there were many good scoring chances, Garrett Bartus and Eric Hartzell denied the shooter each and every time.
As the second period progressed, it became apparent that the Komets had not extended their full effort in the first half of the game. The Mallards appeared to have run out of gas in the second period, allowing the Komets to dominate play. At one point, however, Hartzell made an amazing post to post save on a three-on-goalie breakaway to keep the game knotted at zero.
Jacob Graves showed a moment of the physicality the team has been lacking when he delivered a hard check to Louick Marcotte to the right of Hartzell at the dot. Taylor Crunk was not a fan of the hit, deciding to drop the gloves with Graves behind the net. The bout was more aggressive hugging than a fight, as only two punches were thrown by Crunk after a long hug. The referee deemed it a fight, however, as the two combatants had let their gloves fly into the air to signal the extracurriculars. During the first 30 minutes, the Mallards were a more physical team than in recent games, which is a step forward in the right direction. Also helping was the fact that only blatant penalties were called early on, meaning it was up to the teams to find the line to toe.
The first goal scored by a Fort Wayne player was a marvelously brilliant shot, as Mason Baptista found the smallest area left open by Hartzell’s glove along the left post to jam the puck in to meet twine. Shawn Szydlowski picked up the lone assist on the tally, which was shortly followed by a short-handed marker by Marcotte. While Dennis Kravchenko was in the sin bin for high sticking, Marcotte got the puck on his stick from a pass and had a clear shot at the net to send it over Hartzell’s glove. Daniel Maggio made his way onto the scoresheet with the assist on Marcotte’s first tally of the night.
In the third period, there was no contest as to who was the better team, the Komets skating circles around the Mallards. The Komets have long been a dominant team over the Mallards, and Saturday’s match was no exception. In the teams’ previous bout, the Komets had won 7-0. Seven and a half minutes into the final frame Garrett Thompson extended the lead to three goals with help from Szydlowski and Curtis Leonard. A scrum in front of the net led to several rebounds, and Thompson managed to grab one and tap it in. The next goal, less than two minutes later, had the same cause. That goal was scored by Szydlowski himself, Thompson and Baptista picking the apples for it. Marcotte then chased fans from the building with nine and a half minutes left when he scored again, this one assisted by Gabriel Desjardins and Bobby Shea.
The Mallards are now halfway to the ECHL record for longest losing streak; the Victoria Salmon Kings of 2004-2005 are the holders of that illustrious record. On New Year’s Eve the Mallards will seek to put a stop to their losing streak by facing the Kalamazoo Wings at 2 CST in Michigan.