The first two games of the Mallards vs Rush series went about as expected, with each team getting a 3-2 win. Both teams have such strong defenses that there just are not a ton of scoring chances given up either way. Both games have been extremely physical, with emotions finally boiling over into a fight in Game 2.
There were a few surprises, though, espeically in Game 1. First was Coach Ruskowski opting to start Evan Mosher in net. His hunch paid off as Mosher came up big and got the win. The next surprise was who scored the goals for the Mallards. Michael Clarke scored his first goal as a pro, and Liam Stewart who was making his pro debut also scored. Benjamin Dieude-Fauvel scored the game-winner on the power play. This was Deiude-Fauvel’s first goal for the Mallards since December 12th (he was in the AHL most of that time).
In Game 2, Joe Perry scored both goals for the Mallards, which is a bit less surprising. Parker Milner got the start in net and played well. There was one goal maybe he’d want back, and another was pretty flukey. Overall he played well though stopping 28 of 31 shots. The Rush got goals from Brett Kostlansky, Daniel Barczuk and Spencer Pommells, and a strong effort from Danny Battochio in net.
Dylan Clarke and Anthony Collins got into a fight midway through the second period. There were also a number of times the players had to be separated, including at the end of the game when Benjamin Dieude-Fauvel and Daniel Barczuk were exchanging words. I hope the Mallards can keep their cool and play disciplined, and not get sucked into more penalties.
Game 3 will be back at the iWireless Center in Moline. Mario Lamoureux, Nicholas Rioux and Logan Nelson are expected to be in the lineup. Lamoureux and Rioux are being sent back from AHL stints for teams whose seasons just ended. Nelson is coming back from injury. This will be the first time since that December 12th game that Perry, Nelson, Rioux and Dieude-Fauvel have all been in the same lineup together. I suspect a couple of the rookies just added will have to be placed on reserve to make room. It’s going to be very interesting to see what impact these three players will have on the series.