MOLINE, IL – For the first time in franchise history the Quad City Mallards took on the Idaho Steelheads on Friday night in what proved to be a shooting gallery for the visitors. Ivan Kulbakov made 57 saves on the evening for Phillipe Desrosiers’ 23 saves, the most by a Mallards goalie so far this season. Brady Brassart returned to the home of the Mallards for the first time since signing with Idaho over the off-season, contributing to the scoresheet in the first period.
Once again the Mallards gave up a goal within the opening four minutes of the game, but this time it was a power-play goal. Sam Warning got the gate for hooking just a smidge over two minutes into the game, sending the Steelheads onto the man-advantage. Forty seconds later Henrik Samuelsson lit the lamp behind Kulbakov after capitalizing on a rebound just outside the crease on the goalie’s left. Joe Faust and Jefferson Dahl earned the apples on Samuelsson’s tally. Four minutes later the Mallards almost scored off a Jamie Tardif shot, the puck bouncing wildly through the crease behind Desrosier during a scramble, but the bounces never went the right way for the Mallards, and the goal light remained off.
The Mallards tied the game up on a power-play of their own due to a delay of game face-off violation that brought the face-off from the Mallards’ zone to the Steelheads’ zone. Kyle Bigos, who made his Mallards debut Friday, sent the puck towards the net, Alex Globke finding the rebound and bringing it into the right corner. Globke passed up to Tristan King in the slot, who then passed to Josh MacDonald on the left at the near dot. MacDonald’s shot found twine, bringing the Mallards’ power-play to 1-for-16.
Six minutes later the Mallards took the lead off a Sam Warning goal. King brought the puck into Idaho’s zone through the center, taking a shot on goal. The puck rebounded to Matt Pohlkamp, who passed it back up to King for another chance. The puck then ricocheted to the right, Desrosiers following the puck out of the crease. Warning grabbed the puck along the goal line, angling it to kiss the twine just inside the post as Desrosiers slid to the circle around the near right dot.
Garret Klotz and Reid Halabi exchanged punches in front of the visitors’ bench with 35 seconds remaining in the first frame, though it was a rather one-sided exchange. Klotz, at 6’6”, only managed a few punches against the 5’10” Halabi, his sweater appearing to tangle him up. The two sat for four minutes with double roughing minors, but while they were in there, the Steelheads knotted the score. Justin Parizek tipped a shot in past Kulbakov, Faust, and Brassart making their ways onto the scoresheet with the assists.
The score would remain the same until the end of regulation through the skill of Kulbakov, as the Mallards were outshot 17-6 in the second period and 20-8 in the final period. Same bad passes almost cost the Mallards the game, such as when Warning coughed the puck up to an Idaho player who then streaked away for a breakaway that Kulbakov saved. After regulation time expired, the Mallards had a few good chances in the extra period, but the Steelheads did as well.
Kulbakov was perfect in the shoot-out, making saves on Samuelsson, Dahl, and Shane Hanna. King was the only Mallard to score during the shoot-out, Warning unable to release the puck to lift it over Desrosiers.
The two teams will face off again tonight October 28 at 7:05 CT for the Halloween game, a costume contest and on-ice trick-or-treating during intermission on the schedule for the night.