MOLINE, IL — A fight can work wonders for a player’s confidence, it seems. While no gloves were dropped on Saturday night, the repercussions of Adam Vay‘s fight in Cincinnati on Wednesday could still be seen. The second night of the Quad City Mallards’ Alumni weekend featured long-time rivals the Fort Wayne Komets and Mallards meeting for the eighth time in the less than half over season.
Vay played his best game of the season so far, making 32 saves on the night in front of a crowd of 8,137, to earn first star of the game. His glove flashed all night, making astounding saves time after time to help out a short-handed Mallards blue line corps.
Fort Wayne dominated the first ten minutes of play, with the Mallards lacking organization as they failed to complete passes or even get a shot on goal through the game’s first eight minutes. Jason Binkley gave the Komets the lead just under five and a half minutes after the opening face-off. Mallards alumnus Kyle Thomas earned an assist on Binkley’s opening goal, as did Mike Cazzola. The goal came off a backhand shot after Binkley deked around several Mallards players. Brady Vail extended the Komets’ lead to two goals seven minutes later, Thomas earning the lone assist.
Justin Kovacs ended former Mallard P.J. Musico‘s shutout bid almost three minutes after Vail’s goal, Sebastian Geoffrion, earning his first point as a Mallard, got the assist. Grant Arnold also earned an assist on Kovacs’ goal.
The lone goal of the middle frame came off a bad bounce for Musico. While Curtis Leonard sat in the penalty box for roughing after a hard check on Geoffrion, Chris Francis took the puck into the Komets’ zone to shoot. Musico made the initial save, but as he cleared the puck to the right the puck bounced off of Dan Milan and into the net. Guillaume Gelinas and Arnold got the apples on the tally.
The final period began with 63 seconds of four-on-four action as Brady Brassart and Thomas served matching minors for unsportsmanlike conduct. The two had exchanged words and a few shoves after Vay made a save to bring a whistle. Andrew Panzarella ended the 2-2 stalemate two minutes after the penalties expired, Nolan LaPorte and Alex Petan being credited with the assists. LaPorte had missed Friday night’s game against the Indy Fuel with an injury, but his return to the line-up helped spark hope for the short-handed team.
The Komets tied the game on a controversial play, Vay believing he had been interfered with. Garrett Thompson scored the tying goal from Thomas and Kyle Flemington. Forty-six seconds later Michael Parks, who had been injured in Wednesday’s game against the Cyclones and missed Friday’s game, scored the game-winning goal with help from the same two who helped Panzarella — LaPorte and Petan.
The Mallards play a special 1 PM matinee game on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day against the Tulsa Oilers before completing their homestand at 7 on Friday against the Missouri Mavericks.