FORT WAYNE, IN – The Quad City Mallards defeated the Fort Wayne Komets 2-1 tonight in a pivotal game for the Mallards’ playoff hopes. Richard Nedomlel and J.T. Osborn both made their Mallards debuts tonight. Matt Neal did not play, as he is day-to-day with an upper body injury.
Fort Wayne opened the scoring early in the first period with a goal by Trevor Cheek. Cody Sol was originally credited with the tally and the assist going to Cheek, but during the first intermission the scoresheet was changed to show the reverse.
During the Mallards’ powerplays, they often passed the puck more often than shooting it, always waiting for the perfect opportunity. The perfect opportunity never came when they continuously passed without shooting.
The Mallards came out reinvigorated for the second period, two fights and two goals being scored. The Mallards outshot the Komets 15-9 in the second period after being outshot 14-6 in the first.
Jared Knight tied the game as he was tripped by former Mallard Mason Baptista as he took a shot. Komet goaltender Pat Nagle came out too far from his crease, leaving a gaping net for Knight. Baptista attempted to prevent Knight from scoring by tripping him — just as Darren McMillan had done earlier in the period — but was unsuccessful. After the puck crossed the line Knight crashed into the net, knocking it off its moorings as the goal light flashed. Matt Carey was credited with the assist.
The Komets believed they had scored roughly a minute later as a Komet streaked into Mallards goalie P.J. Musico and knocked the puck into the net before it came off its moorings. The referee and linesmen conferenced with the goal judge before deciding that there was no goal as Musico had been interfered with by Shawn Szydlowski. Szydlowski was given a penalty shot after the no-goal call, but Musico successfully made the glove-save.
Vladimir Nikiforov then gave the Mallards their first lead of the night on the only successful powerplay for the visiting team. Olivier Archambault shot the puck across the goalmouth to Nikiforov, who fell to a knee as he took the shot. The puck then deflected off of a Komet’s skate and into the net. Jordan Knackstedt also earned an assist on the game-winning goal. With this assist, Archambault’s point streak extended to six games.
Less then 30 seconds later, Anthony Collins and Gabriel Beaupre dropped the gloves. Shortly after, four-on-four hockey would begin when Carey and Will Weber entered the boxes. Carey would be in the box again later in the period for another four-on-four sequence.
At 18:11 of the middle frame Sol collided with Musico, sending him sprawling to the ice. No call of goalie interference was forth-coming, so Mike Monfredo decided to take justice into his own fists.
Sol would later be ejected from the game with just under five minutes left in the game after elbowing Sam Warning. Sol received a five minute major and a ten minute game misconduct for that penalty. We will keep you updated on any discipline Sol may receive as a result of the hit.
During the last two minutes of the Mallards’ extended powerplay from Sol’s penalty, the Mallards seemed content to sit on their lead and run out the clock. Luckily for the Mallards, their defense was up to the challenge and was able to keep the Komets from scoring after Nagle was pulled for the extra attacker.
Musico made 31 saves for Nagle’s 21 saves.
With the win, the Mallards remain in eighth spot, three points clear of the Tulsa Oilers. The Komets, meanwhile, fell into a second place tie with the Idaho Steelheads.
The Komets and Mallards will face off again tonight at 6:30 CST.